MovieChat Forums > White Dog (1982) Discussion > ok, how would anyone think this movie wa...

ok, how would anyone think this movie was racist?


maybe it's not a p.c. cornball/preachy type of "message" film but i don't think even the most dense person could interpret this movie as racist. i'm not being the arrogant art film fan who decrys people for not "getting" a film he likes-i don't see how ANYONE could not get it. it's a great movie but it's message is not complicated. maybe it got shelved cause they didn't think it was commercial enough or something i dunno but racist.. i just don't see that. whatever reason it's a shame for paul whitfield that the film was shelved cause he should have got some notice for his work in this film.

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[deleted]

LOL! You people are pretty funny. Not racist? LOL! That is hilarious. Try again folks, with someone else and another movie.

I sure would enjoy seeing all of your replies if the movie was called Black Dog and it went about attacking whites and killing them and a black person trained it. Uh huh, yeah. Think about that.

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Except that this is based on the true story of an Alabama police dog taken in by Romain Gary. It's portraying the actual ramifications of real American racism: that "Black Dog" scenario would be disingenuous because it never happened and it would have to be set in an alternate reality in which blacks suppressed whites for centuries.

Secondly, that's actually surprisingly close to the original novel, in which the black trainer does exactly that.

Uh huh, yeah. Think about that.

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[deleted]

But they HADN'T watched it at all. There was no "NAACP Boycott". The NAACP heard the film was being made, and sent some representatives to talk to Fuller, just to get an idea of where he was going with the story. He got offended that they even dared to question his racial sensitivity, and basically threw them off the set. The NAACP was not happy about this. You wouldn't be either. The film was never screened for them.

The film was never released, and it wasn't mainly because of the NAACP's concerns. It was about the studio's concern that the movie wouldn't be profitable. If they'd thought the film would be profitable, the controversial elements of the story wouldn't have bothered them. The fact is, the film just doesn't work. It isn't an effective statement on race relations in 1980. Hollywood released many far more scathing attacks on race prejudice, and many were hits. Fuller had been somewhat ahead of the times on race back in the 50's, but he was behind the times in the 80's. Even having a black hero (based on a less than heroic character in the novel) wasn't new--John Ford had done it with Sergeant Rutledge in 1960, 20 years before White Dog.

The film isn't racist in its intentions, obviously--but its visuals can easily be misinterpreted. It only shows ONE white racist, and only briefly. A dog, who is incapable of ever understanding human racial differences, is made into a symbol of HUMAN prejudice. Maybe back in the 50's, even the early 60's, that would have been an effective way to address the subject. But it was not a problem by 1980 to use humans as symbols of human prejudice. I mean, Roots had been one of the biggest hits in television history back in 1977. Fuller didn't break a single barrier with this film, or make a single new point.

And Fuller had actually offended Asian Americans with his well-intentioned earlier film, "The Crimson Kimono". He had gone to some pains to deal with race in his films, but he was not so much color blind as tone deaf with regards to the sore points of other races.

It was 1980. To say "racism is bad" wasn't exactly a novel message anymore. Particularly when the film's primary racist is a DOG, who has just been conditioned to dislike black people. He can't TALK about how he feels, and he ends up just being a symbol of some implacable hatred.

But again, the real dog the story is based on was retrained to love black people in a very short time. And no, he did not go crazy and start attacking white people for no reason. His only flaw was to trust in human beings, of any color. He was ultimately used and betrayed by both races. That is a far more powerful message. That as a SPECIES, we need to grow up, and be worthy of our place as Lords of Creation, or we'll lose it.

Read the book--far better than the film, and the NAACP never criticized it, far as I know. It does get at the uncomfortable truth that black people can be racist too. But it doesn't use that fact to let white people off the hook. It's possible the NAACP people were just worried Fuller wouldn't get the balance right--and in fact, he didn't.

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"But again, the real dog the story is based on was retrained to love black people in a very short time. And no, he did not go crazy and start attacking white people for no reason. His only flaw was to trust in human beings, of any color. He was ultimately used and betrayed by both races. That is a far more powerful message. That as a SPECIES, we need to grow up, and be worthy of our place as Lords of Creation, or we'll lose it."


Your comments were great until the last sentence

Lords of Creation? What Lords of Creation? Makes me think of this Mark Twain quote:


"Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed, my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal. Note his history, as sketched above. It seems plain to me that whatever he is he is not a reasoning animal. His record is the fantastic record of a maniac. I consider that the strongest count against his intelligence is the fact that with that record back of him he blandly sets himself up as the head animal of the lot: whereas by his own standards he is the bottom one."

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"LOL! You people are pretty funny. Not racist? LOL! That is hilarious. Try again folks, with someone else and another movie. "

This is funny. Calling this film racist is like calling Apocalypse Now "pro war" or like someone else said, Schindler's list "anti-semetic".

You are LOLing at others when it's you that's completely wrong.

This is one of the greatest anti-racist films ever made.

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It's anti-racist, obviously. I don't think it's a great movie (Fuller only made two or three legitimately great films, IMO), and it really has very little to say about racism, compared with earlier films, and even some TV programs--but its heart is in the right place, even if its head isn't much to brag on.

It was made at the wrong time, by the wrong director, with the wrong script. The movie that needed to be made was a straight adaptation of Gary's book. Still waiting for that.

Is it really just white people who get to decide what's racist or not?



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>> Is it really just white people who get to decide what's racist or not? <<

No. It's smart people.

Do you think it helps any ethnic community to seek reasons to be offended, even by a work whose message is antiracist to anybody who has ears to hear?

Nah, that question is too easy; I know you'll say no. And I'm not saying all disagreements on the matter are caused by those who are hypersensitive or who seek to perpetuate a heightened victim-consciousness. But that _does_ happen, are sure as idiot frat parties where people go blackface and wonder what all the fuss is about (or say they wonder, anyhow...mostly I'm inclined to disbelieve them).

Aside from that, your other points about the film are really intriguing and deserve some serious looking into.

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No. It's smart people.


Goebbels was pretty damn smart.

Do you think it helps any ethnic community to seek reasons to be offended, even by a work whose message is antiracist to anybody who has ears to hear?


Do you understand that white people said much the same thing when black people complained about Birth of a Nation? Which is, btw, a much greater work of art than White Dog, and made by a much more important and influential filmmaker. Still racist as all hell--but Griffith insisted that it was never his intention to hurt or offend black people. Just like Leni Riefenstahl never wanted the Jews to be exterminated. So intentions aren't everything.

Nah, that question is too easy; I know you'll say no.


I'm Irish, so I tend to answer a question with a more interesting question. Just to take the piss out of people.

And I'm not saying all disagreements on the matter are caused by those who are hypersensitive or who seek to perpetuate a heightened victim-consciousness. But that _does_ happen, are sure as idiot frat parties where people go blackface and wonder what all the fuss is about (or say they wonder, anyhow...mostly I'm inclined to disbelieve them).


Fuller hardly belongs in that category. But nobody called him a racist. Some people connected to the NAACP showed up, just wanting to know more about a film where a White German Shepherd savages black people (something that I must again point out never actually happened in the book the movie is based on). They probably didn't know much about Fuller's past record of openly opposing racism. But they would have noticed that instead of openly talking to them about what he was trying to say with the film, he got pissed they were daring to question his anti-racist creds and threw them off his set.

Again--films are not about intentions--they are about IMAGES. You can say one thing and show another. No white people are shown committing racist acts, or even saying overtly racist things. It's the dog who acts as a living representation of white racism, and the most vivid imagery in the film is of the dog attacking black people (or the suggestion of such violence occurring offscreen). The intent is anti-racist--the effect is more ambiguous.

What is the message of the film, anyway? That racism can't be unlearned? That if you teach a white man conditioned to hate black people to stop attacking them, he'll go crazy and start attacking white people? When there is no clear message, other than "racism is bad" (not at all revolutionary or daring for the early 80's), it's the images themselves that draw attention. And the images are, in their own way, as shockingly violent and racially motivated as any we see in Birth of a Nation.

It's not a racist film, but it's not a coherently anti-racist film either. It shows us a capable courageous black trainer trying to right a wrong (and prove a point)--but he's going about it in such a wrong-headed irresponsible way, it undermines the positive image Fuller is trying to show. And that's because the character is modeled after a character in the book who is used an example of the lasting damage racism can inflict on those subjected to it. But do we see a single example of Winfield's character (or any other black person in the film) suffering racism? Does he tell us about his personal experiences? Well of course, there's a problem--Fuller doesn't have any idea what it's like to be black. He's Jewish, so he knows about prejudice, but it was never really any kind of obstacle for him--certainly not in Hollywood. He wants to understand, but he doesn't--but he still acts like he does. He doesn't want to admit how much he doesn't know, so it's impossible for him to learn.

Fuller was a smart writer, but he wasn't a terribly sophisticated one. Subtlety was not his thing. As powerful as his images can be, his scripts often tend to undermine them. He started out as a writer, but his writing is what often fails to hold up today when we watch his movies. At the end of the day, he is a sensationalist--of course he is--he cut his teeth in daily newspapers, back in the 20's and 30's.

It seems like either he didn't understand Gary's novel, or he didn't think the audience would understand. And he obviously didn't think those NAACP guys would understand, so he threw them off his set. Not understanding what message he was sending with that image.

But even if they'd given his movie a glowing recommendation, it would still have angered some people, black and white--and it still wouldn't have been seen by many Americans, black or white.

No, people shouldn't look for reasons to be offended. But isn't that exactly what Fuller was doing when he responded to polite questions with physical expulsion?

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I will watch dis now.

Fanx.

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Dante, I hope you're kidding, because I refuse to believe you're that dumb.

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LOL! You people are pretty funny. Not racist? LOL! That is hilarious. Try again folks, with someone else and another movie.

I sure would enjoy seeing all of your replies if the movie was called Black Dog and it went about attacking whites and killing them and a black person trained it. Uh huh, yeah. Think about that.


This is a film about racism. Not a racist film.

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But if it's about racism, where are the racists? The old man who trained the dog shows up for a few minutes, and we learn almost nothing about him, and ironically enough, he's depicted as a stereotype of a white southern racist, thus allowing real racists to say "Well, I'm not like THAT."

Nobody else in the film EXCEPT THE DOG is shown behaving in a racist manner. We see no racism against Winfield's character, who seems to feel no anger against white people at all. The character he's based on sure did.

How can it be a film about racism, when race is barely even discussed? There's a story in there trying to get out, but it never really does.

It's trying to be an anti-racist film, agreed. I just don't think it succeeds very well.

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clyons, The distinction is one of "subject" and "subject matter". Orwell's Animal Farm was about communism, even though it contains no communists, and the word itself never appears in the book.

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Horrible analogy--we see constant satirical references to Soviet history in that book. We see the consequences of totalitarianism made utterly clear in their effects on every single character. We see how it starts off with the most noble of intentions, and commands the fervent loyalty of the most admirable of animals, such as Boxer the Horse.

In Romain Gary's book, the dog is a jumping off point for Gary to look at American racism, which he finds almost everywhere he goes, including black radicals and white liberals, who have a rather disturbing co-dependent relationship at times--it's a disease that seems determined to spread itself as far as possible, to the point where humans try to inflict it on animals.

He shows us the fine old retired southern gentleman who raised the (still working) southern police officer who trained the dog to be that way, as his father taught him. They're depicted as attractive wholesome people--who have no idea they've done anything wrong in training dogs to savage blacks on sight. That's the real horror. Gary is saying this sickness runs very deep in America, though he believes America will keep working at it, unwilling to accept it as a permanent state of affairs (Gary would have wept with joy when Obama was elected).

If Animal Farm had been written like Fuller's film, we'd have met Benjamin the Donkey (they live a long time, you know), years after Animal Farm had collapsed, and he'd be trying to retrain one of the dogs Napoleon had made into his personal army, and he'd fail, The End. We'd never meet any actual totalitarians, we'd learn nothing about what happened during that regime. And we'd have no idea why anyone would have been fooled by Napoleon and his ilk. There'd be no context whatsoever. And anyway, how does a donkey retrain a dog?




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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter.


I assume you mean that in satire, there's often a difference between what the writer seems to be talking about on the surface and the underlying point of the narrative, but ya know, Orwell wasn't exactly going for subtlety with Animal Farm. He wants people to be in absolutely no doubt about what he's saying. You have to be kind of an idiot to think the book is about animal husbandry gone wrong.

What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor.


Satire. Very obvious pointed satire. Napoleon and Snowball are not METAPHORS for Stalin and Trotsky--they are satiric CARICATURES. Please note the difference, because there's going to be a test later on.

I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism?


No, you're clearly not sure at all what I'm trying to convey. I have my doubts about whether you understand what Orwell was trying to convey either.

Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist?


Well, this would be a smashing good argument--if the dog could talk, and understand abstract concepts. Orwell's animals aren't just symbols--they're humans in animal form, meant to ironically represent certain historical figures, and the victims of those historical figures.

Who is the dog supposed to represent? White human racists who were conditioned to attack black people on sight, and then were retrained by black men so they started attacking white people on sight? I must have missed that episode of Frontline.

I didn't read Gary's book.


I get that. I, otoh, saw Fuller's movie in a theater. THEN I read the novel.

Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book.


Ah, so your point is that the less you know about something, the more you understand it?

What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie.


I certainly agree that some of them are. And can I ask why you refer to discussion board posts as 'emails'?

The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism).


I'm tempted to say "duh", but I'll go with "agreed".

In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism".


Okay....

Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks."


Yes, but we only ever see one dog trained that way. We only see one such trainer, and he's a doddering old man. In the novel, the dog was trained by a young southern policeman in the 1960's, and people reading the book had seen television news footage of German Shepherds being set on civil rights protesters by southern policemen. So the notion of 'white dogs' didn't seem that farfetched, but in 1980, with the open war against racism basically won (we've still got a very long way to go with the underground war), it feels anachronistic and pointless. Keys talks about trying to retrain other White Dogs, but he and the Burl Ives character seem to be the only ones who even know they still exist.

But in Gary's book, as I said, people did have some idea police dogs were being conditioned to hate blacks--even so, nobody in the book ever suggests such a stupid idea as "let's retrain the dog to send a message to white racist dog trainers", because that would be an incredibly stupid and pointless message to send. It's like saying "Let's retrain this bloodhound to stop following scent trails and then nobody will ever want to train a bloodhound to do that again." Um--why not?

It's understood by any competent trainer that any dog can be retrained (you've seen The Dog Whisperer, right?)--in fact, for training to remain effective, it usually has to be constantly reinforced. Nobody making 'white dogs' would see them as anything other than tools for intimidation, and you don't convince a toolmaker to stop making wrenches by melting them down and recasting them as pliers. The dogs are useless if not actually in the possession of racists who want to use them as weapons--and they aren't going to be deprogrammed as long as they're the property of such people.

The kind of negative stimulus conditioning in question (it barely even deserves to be called 'training') that White Dog presumably underwent can in fact be undone, as is evidenced by the fact that in Gary's book (based on a real story), the dog is retrained to love and trust black people within a few weeks (try that with a human sometime).

Dogs can learn to love freakin' CATS, man. My dog tries to make friends with every cat he sees--nobody had to teach him, he just grew up with them in his first home. He's a bit aggressive with ferals, but indoor cats he always assumes will want to be friends with him (this is not generally a correct assumption, but he's had his successes--he used to cuddle with the cat who lived in the foster home he was in before we adopted him). He's half German Shepherd, btw. Dogs are just a horrible horrible metaphor for implacable ancestral human hate. They don't bend that way.

German Shepherds, though, are an excellent metaphor for humans who too easily believe what they're taught by those they trust, and that's how Gary used the dog he describes in the book. Even so, Gary understood that if he was going to write about racism, he had to write about HUMAN BEINGS, and that's what most of the book is devoted to--different flavors of human hate and self-deception. If he was going to use animals as metaphors for racism, he'd have to anthropomorphize them, like Dr. Seuss did with "The Sneetches", and those aren't even real animals.

The idea that the dog would go crazy if you tried to get him to stop attacking blacks, is, in fact, CRAZY. It's just a contrivance Fuller dreamed up so that he can get the dog to attack a white man without having Keys do it intentionally. He wants that shocking image of White Dog attacking White Man for his big finish, but he hasn't done a good enough job setting it up. And frankly, he chose the wrong victim--why the hell couldn't he bring the racist old trainer over to that enclosure, still trying to get his dog back, and have White Dog attack HIM? That wouldn't have made it a good film about racism, but it would at least have been a more fitting finale.

Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.


Yes, but if the dog is a metaphor for whites conditioned to hate blacks, then the message of the film is "If you're taught to hate and attack one group of people, and then somebody teaches you to like them, you'll probably go crazy and start to hate and attack your own people." Which actually sounds like something a Klan pamphlet would say--the dog becomes a 'Race Traitor.'

And I'm pretty damn sure that's not what Fuller meant to say, but that's what sometimes happens when you're going for shocking visuals and plot twists at the expense of a believable story. Something Fuller did rather often in his career, but usually to better effect than in White Dog. The story he's adapting just doesn't want to be used this way.

Now if you want to really get into this discussion, can I make a brief three word suggestion?

Read. The. Book.





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The comparison to Animal Farm was meant to indicate that there's a difference between subject and subject matter. What I said is true -- that Animal Farm is about communism, even though it's dealt with through symbolism and metaphor. I'm not at all sure what your extended explanation is intended to convey... that White Dog takes place "years after" racism? Or that it's not about racism because the dog itself is not racist? Not my point.

I didn't read Gary's book. Nonetheless, we're discussing the movie, not the book, and not having read the book puts gives me POV about the movie that's not biased by the book. What I can tell you is that I think the ideas raised in the book -- as presented in your email -- are present in the movie. The dog's behavior toward blacks may not fit your definition of racism, but it certainly springs from the same source (human ignorance and racism). In the movie, Keys doesn't say "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then there's hope for curing racism". Instead, he says "if we can recondition this dog not to attack blacks then we'll be sending a message to racists that there's little point in training dogs to attack blacks." Metaphorically, though, the dog is a symbol for racists -- we hope that the dog can be reconditioned just as we hope racists can be reconditioned.

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Such a bad argument, I could understand if it's the latter.

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What's a bad argument? Keys's thesis?

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I meant your arguments.

And the movie character is named Keyes. With two 'e's--Gary's character is named Keys--it's just a nickname in the book. Which you should read.

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As a black person I do not see this movie as racist in the least.

It's not a movie about training a dog to hate black people.

It's a movie about training a dog NOT to hate black people. It involves race, but it's not racist. It's not degrading or demeaning to any race in any form. It doesn't suggests that all whites are racist and the premise of the movie is that the fact that the dog hates black people is WRONG.

"Uh, huh, yeah. Think about that."

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Yes, it's meant to be an anti-racist film. We will absolutely credit Fuller's good intentions.

Now how do you feel, as a black person, about some other black person being so obsessed with retraining a dog he doesn't even like, that he goes right on trying to do so after the dog easily escapes an enclosure meant to hold wild animals, then goes hunting for black people, and fatally mauls one--in a church? The woman who owns the dog is telling him to shoot it, and he refuses. It's their duty to turn the dog in--I say this as a major dog lover--because it represents a danger to the community (much more of one than any real dog I've ever heard of, in fact). They should at least inform the authorities. Or hey, how about finding out if there's anything they can do for the families? No, Keyes is Ahab with a White Dog instead of a White Whale--don't think for one minute that analogy didn't occur to Fuller. But it's kind of a cheesy forced analogy.

And then in the end, he shoots the dog--after it attacks a white person. Like the SECOND it attacks a white person.

Now if the character who caused all this was white, and seemed to feel no serious remorse (or any obligation to make restitution for what the dog had done) what would you think of the film?

The film sure as hell does not suggest all whites are racist, given that we only see one white racist in the entire film, and he's elderly and sinister-looking, and appears for about two minutes, and can't even stand up to Kristy Freakin' McNichol. If only it were that easy.

The film also implies that by learning to stop hating black people, the dog must then start to hate white people--without anyone trying to teach him that. Aside from being complete nonsense from the standpoint of dog psychology (you've seen The Dog Whisperer, right?), I think a white racist would see this movie and feel like this final twist perfectly illustrates the idea that if you like black people, that means you're a traitor to your own race. You can only love one or the other, not both. Since the dog is the central symbol in the film, that's the message being sent. A noble effort was made, but it failed, and it must fail, because this hatred is too deep-seated to be cured. And there is no countering hope in the film. And this is the same filmmaker who has a black man say in a 1951 war movie that he'll probably have to wait fifty years just to ride in the MIDDLE of the bus. And he's okay with that. It didn't take much more than fifty years to elect a black President. Fuller was no social prophet.

In reality, the dog would have to be specifically retrained to hate white people--and showing this would prove it wasn't a natural impulse of the dog to distinguish between humans of different races, but something that was put in him.

But because the Keyes in the movie is a saint (in spite of his puzzling lack of concern for black people getting mauled by a dog he's working with that escaped his custody), Fuller can't tell that story. But he still wants the image (when you get right down to it, Fuller was all about violent visceral imagery--he wants films to inspire raw emotions, and doesn't worry much about whether they make any sense).

Well, couldn't Fuller at least have had the dog attack the old bastard who abused him as a puppy? It would have made perfect sense, because he's trying to get the dog back, and he's hardly going to believe what McNichol's character told him without proof. Then the message would be that the dog woke up to who his real enemy was, and the monster the old man created would rise up to destroy him.

But Fuller doesn't want to send that message--he wants to say the dog can't be cured, because racism can't be cured. Well, the cure takes a long time, to be sure. With humans. Dogs, maybe a few months, tops. Because dogs don't rationalize.

It's a visually powerful, clumsily written exploitation movie that has absolutely nothing to say about racism except it's bad--but only elderly southerners and their dogs are guilty of it.

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I think this film is a heavyhanded, superficial, at times patronizing approach to its subject matter. I also think they (willingly or otherwise) make this into Uncle Ahab's cabin by focusing on Keyes' obsession for "curing" the dog, even after it escapes the compound and commits a murder which goes unpunished, all the while shooting it the moment it attacks Carruthers. This was actually the detail that made the whole movie crumble down for me. I don't have much faith in the intelligence of organized pressure groups, but I wouldn't be surprised if people from the NAACP protested at this as well, basically because it was SO obvious.

He paints Keyes as an educated man who decided to eschew academic life in order to pursue his dream -- I wouldn't be surprised if, in the presence of a white man with these characteristics, Fuller actually saw him as an alter ego of sorts. But the way he uses character development on Keyes is haphazard and distant, as if he were adding all these interesting characteristics separately to a character he didn't really care about in the first place.

I could excuse these details considering the time during which this was done, at the start of the Reagan era, with its sanctimonious conservatism, its covert racism and its return to pre-counterculture values pervading every inch of the mainstream media. But then again, Fuller was no stranger to controversy and it looks to me, in view of his iconoclast, individualistic "right-wing anarchist" persona, like he wasn't used to giving a *beep* about anyone else's opinion. That's why I think this film is a failure. Actually the only thing I really fancy in it is Ennio Morricone's score, and it's not even near his best.

But I am more pessimistic than you are, and I think Fuller was right in his conclusion. He probably wasn't willing to accept the full consequences of his own thoughts, and I mean the thoughts he didn't show on film -- namely, that racism is a consequence of stupidity and perversity combined, and that it cannot be cured because stupidity, inferiority complex and ill intention cannot be cured. Racism is the socialism of stupid people. Had a professed anarchist like Fuller started from this premise, and had he adapted the original book to it from the outset, rather than just explode it inconsistently in three or four different directions, he would have made a masterpiece.

But then hardly anyone dares to arrive to this conclusion about racism, mainly because the logical conclusion would be a negative assessment of mankind as a whole, and few people would be willing to do that. In that sense, "Manderlay" is far more effective in pushing this message forward without being a masterpiece itself. Probably because Von Trier is far a smarter man than Fuller was.

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But total agreement is boring.

I think this film is a heavyhanded, superficial, at times patronizing approach to its subject matter. I also think they (willingly or otherwise) make this into Uncle Ahab's cabin


Oooh I'm so stealing that line.

by focusing on Keyes' obsession for "curing" the dog, even after it escapes the compound and commits a murder which goes unpunished, all the while shooting it the moment it attacks Carruthers. This was actually the detail that made the whole movie crumble down for me. I don't have much faith in the intelligence of organized pressure groups, but I wouldn't be surprised if people from the NAACP protested at this as well, basically because it was SO obvious.


It's not clear to me to what extent they knew the script--did Fuller ever show it to them? According to Fuller's own account, he threw the two NAACP reps off his set after a very short time, because he didn't like their attitude. Be interesting to hear their account. I'm certainly not saying the NAACP has a right to shut down any movie they don't like--honestly, when have they ever had that power to begin with? Do Hollywood movies in general play like the NAACP was pulling all the strings?

He paints Keyes as an educated man who decided to eschew academic life in order to pursue his dream -- I wouldn't be surprised if, in the presence of a white man with these characteristics, Fuller actually saw him as an alter ego of sorts.


Bingo--Keyes is the black Sam Fuller--but Fuller, however sympathetic he was to civil rights for African Americans, doesn't seem to have known any of them very well. They always come across as symbols in his films, not three dimensional beings. Mind you, a lot of white characters in Fuller's films come across that way as well. He painted in very broad strokes, shall we say. It's part of his charm, but it's also a major weakness when trying to tell a story that isn't all--excuse the expression--black and white.

But the way he uses character development on Keyes is haphazard and distant, as if he were adding all these interesting characteristics separately to a character he didn't really care about in the first place.


Maybe you're right--I think he cares about Keyes more than anybody else in the film. Honestly, this was never the project nearest and dearest to his heart. If he'd been able to get studio funding for his WWII film (which eventually became The Big Red One), he'd have dropped this work-for-hire project in a moment. Parenthetically, The Big Red One is the only Sam Fuller movie I ever got the chance to see in a theater when it first came out--and I loved it. Still do, but when I finally got to see a print with all the scenes Fuller was forced to cut, I ended up liking it less. It overexplains, overelaborates, and overdramatizes. Fuller was a born preacher--guy didn't know when to shut up and let his talent do the talking.

I could excuse these details considering the time during which this was done, at the start of the Reagan era, with its sanctimonious conservatism, its covert racism and its return to pre-counterculture values pervading every inch of the mainstream media. But then again, Fuller was no stranger to controversy and it looks to me, in view of his iconoclast, individualistic "right-wing anarchist" persona, like he wasn't used to giving a *beep* about anyone else's opinion. That's why I think this film is a failure. Actually the only thing I really fancy in it is Ennio Morricone's score, and it's not even near his best.


His best would have been wasted here. Fuller was no Leone. Talented, yes. Iconoclastic you bet. Genius, hell no.

But I am more pessimistic than you are, and I think Fuller was right in his conclusion.


That black Americans would only be allowed to ride in the middle of the bus by the year 2000? Oh sorry, wrong picture.

He probably wasn't willing to accept the full consequences of his own thoughts, and I mean the thoughts he didn't show on film -- namely, that racism is a consequence of stupidity and perversity combined, and that it cannot be cured because stupidity, inferiority complex and ill intention cannot be cured.


They can be outlasted, though. And 'racist' behavior in a dog is just reaction to conditioning, and it's usually not that hard for a qualified trainer to rehabilitate such animals. So can we just say, lousy metaphor? In the book it works much better, but Gary was just using the dog as a focal point through which to view various types of human racism, which he described in some depth--including the racism of white liberals, and black people themselves. We are all guilty, because we are all human. But still, Gary predicted, at a very difficult time, that America would find a way to move forward, and fix at least its outward injustices, because the way we were then didn't match up with our idealized image of ourselves. He was right. And we're not done yet. No matter how bad it looks now when you watch some Tea Party rally on TV, it was worse back in 1968--when Barack Obama was seven years old. He was 21 when White Dog was showing in European theaters. And no, I don't think his election was the end of anything. The fight goes on. But we're winning it. And that's precisely why there are so many terrified angry racists in this country right now. The tide is turning in earnest now, and they feel it. A dangerous moment in history--the Historian's Curse is working overtime.

Racism is the socialism of stupid people.


I'm stealing that too. Well, from whoever said it first.

Had a professed anarchist like Fuller started from this premise, and had he adapted the original book to it from the outset, rather than just explode it inconsistently in three or four different directions, he would have made a masterpiece.


It would have been his first. Fuller--I dunno--I love some of his films, and I'm certainly never bored by any of them. But he never made what I'd call a masterpiece.

But then hardly anyone dares to arrive to this conclusion about racism, mainly because the logical conclusion would be a negative assessment of mankind as a whole, and few people would be willing to do that. In that sense, "Manderlay" is far more effective in pushing this message forward without being a masterpiece itself. Probably because Von Trier is far a smarter man than Fuller was.


More sophisticated, certainly--I think Europeans tend to appreciate Fuller precisely because he's such a primitive. But it's not so much about intelligence--Von Trier's take on America is actually more simplistic than anything Fuller ever made. I'd take Gary's vision over both of them. Despair mingled with hope. He can't stop seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but he keeps wishing he could, because it's so very far away.

If Von Trier is more willingly (almost cheerfully) fatalistic, that's because Europeans have a much more negative relationship with history. America has still never lost a war it couldn't afford to lose, never been invaded, and our one and only civil war, horrific as it was, led to a 'new birth of freedom'. We interned innocent Japanese Americans en masse, but we didn't gas them (hey, it's something).

And as poorly as we've lived up to our ideals, we've still done a lot of good in the world--we mean well--like Fuller did making this movie, and that's a fine cautionary tale right there. We remain cockeyed optimists, as a people--and this is true of all of us, regardless of color. We feel like foreigners everywhere else, because we are one nation, under a groove. We might as well work with it. And our dogs will help us, if we let them--as a white man, living in a very non-white neighborhood, I've made a lot of good friends of all different races, thanks to my dog. And I guess that's what pisses me off about this movie.

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Forget about the dog. Anyone's dog. Fuller just wanted to bring forth a basic point (or a set of points, or maybe no point at all, maybe just a half-baked, prejudiced, visceral vision from his own flawed, incomplete POV). And he did so by using an allegory. He probably wanted to convey the following themes:

- that racism is always learned (i.e. never innate)
- that racism can never be unlearned
- that hatred is unknown or irrelevant to the people surrounding the hater, even to many of its potential victims, and thus the only one who suffers is the hater him/herself.
- that in many cases, the real culprits for the phenomenon (politicians? writers? journalists?...) go unpunished and undetected, whereas the only one who suffers the real consequences is the down=to-earth, unlettered hater, the cannon fodder, the one who does the misdemeanor.

I think that was his only intention. I think I could even retrace, with some effort, the emotional and intellectual evolution of his involvement with this project. It wouldn't be difficult considering his previous resume and the things he said publicly before and after. Like you said, he wasn't a particularly brilliant or complex character.

But the bottom line is, he did not succeed. For one thing, the use of a dog is controversial in that a dog can never be held accountable for its actions the same way a human being would -- especially if dogs are put together in the same "fable" with human beings!!

Plus, he paints a hypothetical human being as an animal (hence deriding the human being), yet afterwards worries about the animal's psychological well-being. In doing so, he uses the animal/person much in the same way the stereotypical racist in the movie did when it trained it. I haven't read Gary's book but I'm almost certain he made part of the same mistake.

Plus, I don't think the use of a dog adds any information, or enhances the film's didactic power, that wouldn't be present altogether in an allegory or synecdoche that used only humans (for instance, using a very specific situation to explain the wider picture, etc).

Plus, I don't agree with his view of racism. I think racism is an emotional need, an easy subconscious escape for many people who have neither the intellectual autonomy, not the willingness to think by themselves and acknowledge their own fears, limitations and failures. That's why populism is so successful, at least among uneducated people in Europe: because it asks the right questions, and then offers the wrong answers -- not just because they're the easiest answers, or the shortest ones to explain, but because they're the ones easier to accept by the people who hear them. "It is not you who has failed in life, it's the immigrants who took your job from you". "It is not your country that was naturally doomed to recession by a pendular effect, it is the Albanians or the Romanians or the black Africans who over-rely on social security and flood this country with mouths to feed". This is the message you'll find in any Front National, Lega Nord or British National Front election poster in any street in Europe.

Fuller sees racism or antisocial attitudes in general as a disease and as something which is or should be fundamentally alien to people, and I don't think it behaves in that manner. That vision of racism exonerates mankind of its own flaws. It is a widespread vision, and it is a failure for the fight against the effects of racism. Same way it is also a failure that anti-racism had to be monopolized by the left, at least in Europe.

I don't agree 100% with your vision of your own country, but I can't discuss on it because I still haven't visited it so far (I hope I will soon) so I don't have anywhere to stand on to in order to address each of your points. I think there is an enormous amount of reasons why it should be a beautiful country, and yet it still isn't. I think its history is largely responsible for this, and I don't think the extent to which a country can have to be optimistic about its future can be measured by the amount of wars (decisive or otherwise) it has won. I could actually turn that statement back against you and argue that its involvement in wars, at least during this past century, has been characterized by opportunism -- never by idealism.

I do agree with you that Obama's election is just a step ahead, but I also need to remind you that steps can be traced back. Look at the similarities between the treatment given to Obama by mainstream right-wing journalists, and the atmosphere prevailing in Israel prior to Rabin's murder, or in your country during the New Deal. Not many reasons to be optimistic, you'll have to give me that.


I'm stealing that too. Well, from whoever said it first. []

Well I think it was Engels who said in a text about socialism that antisemitism was the socialism as practiced by idiots. And I just thought why not turn the sentence around a bit, take it out of its context, and make it extensive to all forms of racism? So yeah of course you can steal it, the sentence it comes from has been already universal for more than a century .

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Forget about the dog. Anyone's dog.


No, don't forget it. Dogs have a whole hell of a lot to teach us about ourselves, good and bad. That was one of the major points of the story, and Fuller blew it. Badly.

Fuller just wanted to bring forth a basic point (or a set of points, or maybe no point at all, maybe just a half-baked, prejudiced, visceral vision from his own flawed, incomplete POV). And he did so by using an allegory. He probably wanted to convey the following themes:

- that racism is always learned (i.e. never innate)
- that racism can never be unlearned
- that hatred is unknown or irrelevant to the people surrounding the hater, even to many of its potential victims, and thus the only one who suffers is the hater him/herself.
- that in many cases, the real culprits for the phenomenon (politicians? writers? journalists?...) go unpunished and undetected, whereas the only one who suffers the real consequences is the down=to-earth, unlettered hater, the cannon fodder, the one who does the misdemeanor.


I think that sums it up about right--and frankly, better than the film did. See, the real problem is that it's 1982, and he didn't need a freakin' ALLEGORY to say that.

I think that was his only intention. I think I could even retrace, with some effort, the emotional and intellectual evolution of his involvement with this project. It wouldn't be difficult considering his previous resume and the things he said publicly before and after. Like you said, he wasn't a particularly brilliant or complex character.


He was a most memorable character, though--not the kind Reader's Digest tends to feature.

But the bottom line is, he did not succeed. For one thing, the use of a dog is controversial in that a dog can never be held accountable for its actions the same way a human being would -- especially if dogs are put together in the same "fable" with human beings!!


Yes, it keeps crossing the line between the metaphorical and the literal, to the point where it's hopelessly blurred--and I don't think that was intentional. Fuller did not have a good handle on this story. A whole lot of directors, black or white, could have done better. Hopefully someday, somebody will--the original story is very far from being out of date.

Plus, he paints a hypothetical human being as an animal (hence deriding the human being), yet afterwards worries about the animal's psychological well-being. In doing so, he uses the animal/person much in the same way the stereotypical racist in the movie did when it trained it. I haven't read Gary's book but I'm almost certain he made part of the same mistake.


No, but somebody in the book does.

Plus, I don't think the use of a dog adds any information, or enhances the film's didactic power, that wouldn't be present altogether in an allegory or synecdoche that used only humans (for instance, using a very specific situation to explain the wider picture, etc).


You start with the dog, and expand the canvas from there--as Gary said, if you can see a human being in a dog, you end up seeing a dog in every human being. And for an animal lover, that's a hopeful thing. I can't speak for your reaction.

Plus, I don't agree with his view of racism. I think racism is an emotional need, an easy subconscious escape for many people who have neither the intellectual autonomy, not the willingness to think by themselves and acknowledge their own fears, limitations and failures.


Yes, though prejudice (not the same thing) does serve a function in a state of nature--you can't stop to fairly evaluate every possible threat you encounter. You do have to categorize sometimes, even if it isn't fair. Let's be honest--you're out in a strange part of town, and see young men of a race and a certain social class you know may be hostile towards you, you become wary--you'd be foolish not to. Like say, if you're a black man in Bensonhurst. Is that racism? No, but that's where it starts--and as you say, with a secure well-adjusted personality, it may never go any further, though certain attitudes can be picked up on even by good people in a society where this reaction is commonplace.

I'm saying it's a natural reaction that has become internalized, irrationally systematized--it tries to justify itself, to propagate itself, even when it ceases to serve any useful function, and has actually become harmful. An inflamed appendix of the soul. Damn, we like hearing ourselves talk, don't we?

That's why populism is so successful, at least among uneducated people in Europe: because it asks the right questions, and then offers the wrong answers -- not just because they're the easiest answers, or the shortest ones to explain, but because they're the ones easier to accept by the people who hear them. "It is not you who has failed in life, it's the immigrants who took your job from you". "It is not your country that was naturally doomed to recession by a pendular effect, it is the Albanians or the Romanians or the black Africans who over-rely on social security and flood this country with mouths to feed". This is the message you'll find in any Front National, Lega Nord or British National Front election poster in any street in Europe.


Yeah, or the Irishmen and Germans who killed blacks in the Draft Riots because they blamed them for being drafted into a war that would end up killing or crippling them. Or the black men who looted Jewish or Korean stores in their neighborhoods--or attacked random white people because a white jury let some brutal white cops off the hook. Do the Right Thing is a better movie than White Dog by far, but it lets Mookie off awful easy, you know. Sal would probably not have been able to get insurance for a restaurant in that area. And "Minister Farrakhan" is every bit as much a racist as any National Front goon.

Fuller sees racism or antisocial attitudes in general as a disease and as something which is or should be fundamentally alien to people, and I don't think it behaves in that manner. That vision of racism exonerates mankind of its own flaws. It is a widespread vision, and it is a failure for the fight against the effects of racism. Same way it is also a failure that anti-racism had to be monopolized by the left, at least in Europe.


Racism is still losing the war, though. It's a very drawn-out retreat, with frequent counter-attacks, but it can only end one way--if we survive long enough as a species, which is not guaranteed, particularly if we keep mistrusting each other--but wouldn't we do that if we were all the same race?

I don't agree 100% with your vision of your own country, but I can't discuss on it because I still haven't visited it so far (I hope I will soon) so I don't have anywhere to stand on to in order to address each of your points.


I don't 100% agree with it myself, but isn't it a good thing to at least WANT to do better? To think that it's possible? I bet you thought Obama never had a chance. Fooled ya.

I think there is an enormous amount of reasons why it should be a beautiful country, and yet it still isn't. I think its history is largely responsible for this, and I don't think the extent to which a country can have to be optimistic about its future can be measured by the amount of wars (decisive or otherwise) it has won. I could actually turn that statement back against you and argue that its involvement in wars, at least during this past century, has been characterized by opportunism -- never by idealism.


Always some opportunism in the mix, sure--just like everybody else--we can't be human beings too? Just because we oversell the dream doesn't mean it's just a dream.

I do agree with you that Obama's election is just a step ahead, but I also need to remind you that steps can be traced back. Look at the similarities between the treatment given to Obama by mainstream right-wing journalists, and the atmosphere prevailing in Israel prior to Rabin's murder, or in your country during the New Deal. Not many reasons to be optimistic, you'll have to give me that.


No point in giving up while you're still breathing--you'll have to give me that. Lincoln was shot, King was shot--and racism keeps right on losing ground. You can't kill an idea whose time has come--and racism isn't one--just a rotten appendix. We'll cut it out yet.

Well I think it was Engels who said in a text about socialism that antisemitism was the socialism as practiced by idiots.


Yeah, but how did Marx & Engels' dream ultimately work out? One of the worst nightmares in human history--far worse than anything America has experienced. I'm just saying. They could see the problems with existing society pretty clearly, but they didn't have anything better to suggest. And Marx was quite clearly a racist.

And I just thought why not turn the sentence around a bit, take it out of its context, and make it extensive to all forms of racism? So yeah of course you can steal it, the sentence it comes from has been already universal for more than a century


Marx and Engels still have a few truths to tell, sure--if you can sift them out from all the lies and half-truths. I think we can find better sources to steal from--or make them.

I take no prisoners, bub.

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Yes, it keeps crossing the line between the metaphorical and the literal, to the point where it's hopelessly blurred--and I don't think that was intentional. Fuller did not have a good handle on this story. A whole lot of directors, black or white, could have done better.

Exactly.


You start with the dog, and expand the canvas from there--as Gary said, if you can see a human being in a dog, you end up seeing a dog in every human being. And for an animal lover, that's a hopeful thing. I can't speak for your reaction.

I am an animal lover, but just don't see the need to translate this real problem into an imaginary or distant context when all it takes is pointing out the real-life issue, which could be the subject matter for dozens of stories ... with real people. Stories which were well-explained and managed to drive the message home regardless of the cultural level of the audience. It's obviously a challenge for a filmmaker, and Fuller decided not to accept it.

Same way McTeigue and the Wachowski brothers could have done a scathing comment on he Bush era in the US, and yet decided to respect the original British setting for "V for Vendetta" because they just didn't dare to confront their real, close and familiar subject matter. It didn't matter that the film was American and not British, or that the UK was no longer submerged in the state of affairs that lead Moore to write a graphic novel like that, they HAD to respect the whole British, early 80s mindset because they were too scared of the fact that what they really had in mind was their own country, in the 2000s.

It's all about challenges, and being willing to accept them.


Yes, though prejudice (not the same thing) does serve a function in a state of nature--you can't stop to fairly evaluate every possible threat you encounter. You do have to categorize sometimes, even if it isn't fair. Let's be honest--you're out in a strange part of town, and see young men of a race and a certain social class you know may be hostile towards you, you become wary--you'd be foolish not to. Like say, if you're a black man in Bensonhurst. Is that racism? No, but that's where it starts--and as you say, with a secure well-adjusted personality, it may never go any further, though certain attitudes can be picked up on even by good people in a society where this reaction is commonplace.

Totally agreed with the first part. The difference between prejudice (which everyone has, of some or other sort) and racism is that racism goes to the extent of affecting one's own interaction with other people.

However, the notion of "good people" is something that I just don't accept. There are no good people. Goodness is a cultural construct, not an absolute truth. Most of the events causing heavy human loss in History have been done by people who were convinced they were actually good.


I'm saying it's a natural reaction that has become internalized, irrationally systematized--it tries to justify itself, to propagate itself, even when it ceases to serve any useful function, and has actually become harmful. An inflamed appendix of the soul. Damn, we like hearing ourselves talk, don't we? []


Exactly . Like the experiment with the three monkeys. They were all connected to an electric device, every time one of them raised its arm they all got an electric shock. They finally learned the cause-effect, and they prevented one another from raising their arm. Thing is, new monkeys were shifted in and out of the machine, until not three of the original ones were in it, and halfway through the experiment they ceased to receive shocks. Yet they still prevented new monkeys from raising their arm.

Difference is, in our real-life example there was no electric shock in the first place.



Racism is still losing the war, though. It's a very drawn-out retreat, with frequent counter-attacks, but it can only end one way--if we survive long enough as a species, which is not guaranteed, particularly if we keep mistrusting each other--but wouldn't we do that if we were all the same race?

Racism is not engaged in a war, it is just a phenomena that comes and goes, and will always feel potentially at ease among a population as long as a significant part of it is intellectually mediocre -- that is, always.





I don't 100% agree with it myself, but isn't it a good thing to at least WANT to do better? To think that it's possible? I bet you thought Obama never had a chance. Fooled ya. []

Yes I did, but I don't think his stay at the White House changes anything. Not at all.


Always some opportunism in the mix, sure--just like everybody else--we can't be human beings too? Just because we oversell the dream doesn't mean it's just a dream.

It isn't a dream, it's just a subjective view of one's place and time in history. It's alright to have it, everybody has it. Romans also had a similar "dream", all empires have had it.

And it's not "always some", it's "always a lot". Which is good for the interests of the country (won't deny that) but not for the others'.


No point in giving up while you're still breathing--you'll have to give me that. Lincoln was shot, King was shot--and racism keeps right on losing ground. You can't kill an idea whose time has come--and racism isn't one--just a rotten appendix. We'll cut it out yet.


Giving up implies having had faith beforehand, and I just don't have faith in people, but in leaders and institutions. "People" are the same fuzzy, cloudy an chaotic entity they were 500 years ago. "People" will remain prone to racism, or to any other manifestation of misery, because they are people.



Yeah, but how did Marx & Engels' dream ultimately work out? One of the worst nightmares in human history--far worse than anything America has experienced. I'm just saying. They could see the problems with existing society pretty clearly, but they didn't have anything better to suggest. And Marx was quite clearly a racist.


Marx was a "racist" inasmuch he was a man of his generation. Everyone was racially prejudiced back then, even sincere Socialists like Jack London. Even abolitionists like Lincoln himself were as prejudiced as they come.




Marx and Engels still have a few truths to tell, sure--if you can sift them out from all the lies and half-truths. I think we can find better sources to steal from--or make them.

Alright, I'll steal one from a man who was neither racist nor simplistic, hence far removed from both Marx and Engels and Fuller:

Man isn't a noble savage, he's an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I'm interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it's a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.

Fuller was never a visionary; perhaps neither was Kubrick, but in that quote the latter proved himself far more insightful. Too bad White dog wasn't directed by him.

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I am an animal lover, but just don't see the need to translate this real problem into an imaginary or distant context when all it takes is pointing out the real-life issue, which could be the subject matter for dozens of stories ... with real people.


We agree about that, but we disagree about the relevance of the dog--you really do have to read the book to have an informed opinion about that. Fuller loved the image of a big savage white dog attacking black people (the real dog was not a White German Shepherd, a distinct breed in its own right). Fuller lifted images from Gary's narrative, leaving the intelligence and sensibility behind those images unused. And in fairness, it would be a very tough novel to adapt line for line--Gary's story ranges across several continents, and a whole lot of related ideas.

Stories which were well-explained and managed to drive the message home regardless of the cultural level of the audience. It's obviously a challenge for a filmmaker, and Fuller decided not to accept it.


Fuller was big on shock value--sometimes that worked, as in (fittingly enough) Shock Corridor--which was hardly an art film but rather a grindhouse exploitation feature with a brain. A kind of psychological horror movie--with gratuitous and perverse sexuality thrown into the mix. It's fun, and disturbing--disturbingly fun--but it ain't deep.

Same way McTeigue and the Wachowski brothers could have done a scathing comment on he Bush era in the US, and yet decided to respect the original British setting for "V for Vendetta" because they just didn't dare to confront their real, close and familiar subject matter.


I agree that film did not work, but do you really think Guy Fawkes would have translated to a U.S. setting? Hell, the Republicans seem to have just adopted Guy Fawkes as their mascot. Google it.

It didn't matter that the film was American and not British, or that the UK was no longer submerged in the state of affairs that lead Moore to write a graphic novel like that, they HAD to respect the whole British, early 80s mindset because they were too scared of the fact that what they really had in mind was their own country, in the 2000s.


Moore was writing a graphic novel--it didn't cost much to tell that story. American filmmakers have, in fact, done scathing assaults on America, but the problem with V for Vendetta was that they were trying to make Alan Moore commercial, and he just isn't--he's hated EVERY adaptation of his work, and every single adaptation of his work has failed at the box office.

They could certainly have set it in the U.S., and a hero comes to save us from tyranny through terrorism--that's a narrative a Tea Partier would love. But comic book purists would have screamed, and rightly so--why even adapt it if you're going to change it around that much? It changed the story far too much as was. I'm not sure you understood what Moore was really saying with that work. He wrote it out of anger against Thatcherism, and a feeling that the Tories had established permanent rule--which of course they hadn't--they were just about ready to fall. He'd write a very different story now. Despair is no more inherently truthful than hope, you know. Just two sides of the same coin. And anyway, that was a hymn to anarchism--the destruction of all human institutions and systems of authority, to be replaced by a society of freely associating fully-realized individuals. A dream that doesn't seem to match up very well with what you say down below.

Totally agreed with the first part. The difference between prejudice (which everyone has, of some or other sort) and racism is that racism goes to the extent of affecting one's own interaction with other people.


No, prejudice does that as well--racism is different in that it's a SYSTEM of prejudging people--it's not based on anything real. It's been taken to the conceptual level, and conceptualized defensive instincts are a BAD IDEA. You need to be able to know when a prejudice has been invalidated, but you can't if you are invested in that prejudice. Prejudices start out as a cautious evaluation of reality, but when internalized, they become a way of blocking out reality--which serves nobody's interests in the long run.

However, the notion of "good people" is something that I just don't accept.


Reality trumps notions, and good people do exist in this world.

There are no good people. Goodness is a cultural construct, not an absolute truth. Most of the events causing heavy human loss in History have been done by people who were convinced they were actually good.


How old are you? Lest you ask the same question in return, I'm old enough to know better. There are good people in this world. Not enough, but they exist. E.M. Forster put it best in "Two Cheers for Democracy." Look it up sometime. They're out there. I've met them. PERFECT people; that's something else again.

Exactly [] . Like the experiment with the three monkeys. They were all connected to an electric device, every time one of them raised its arm they all got an electric shock. They finally learned the cause-effect, and they prevented one another from raising their arm. Thing is, new monkeys were shifted in and out of the machine, until not three of the original ones were in it, and halfway through the experiment they ceased to receive shocks. Yet they still prevented new monkeys from raising their arm.

Difference is, in our real-life example there was no electric shock in the first place. []


Which real-life example?

Racism is not engaged in a war,


Any racist would tell you otherwise. It's a war of their choosing, but a war nonetheless. A war they keep losing.

it is just a phenomena that comes and goes, and will always feel potentially at ease among a population as long as a significant part of it is intellectually mediocre -- that is, always.


You know, there's a flaw in that argument--in that many proponents of racism are not intellectually mediocre. If only. The Germans were among the most sophisticated people on earth. But under certain historical pressures, aided and abetted by intellectually advanced philosophies that were badly misapplied, that just led to a more sophisticated AND brutal form of racism. No, racists may suffer from insecurities and resentments, but don't we all? It's how you react that matters.

Yes I did, but I don't think his stay at the White House changes anything. Not at all.


So let's examine that argument--you were sure that America's racism would prevent him from being elected--then he was elected by a landslide--then you decided AFTER THE FACT that his election was meaningless. Moving the goalposts. You are, in fact, allowing your resentment of America to color your assessments of it, which is skewing your decision-making process, and making yo incapable of forming fair and accurate judgments about events--which is much worse for you than America. You might want to read this essay, and see if you don't find yourself in there somewhere--Orwell had his own prejudices, but he knew the first place you fight them is inside your own soul.

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

It isn't a dream, it's just a subjective view of one's place and time in history. It's alright to have it, everybody has it. Romans also had a similar "dream", all empires have had it.


Yes, but Rome also had a civilization that pretty nearly every modern thinker agrees had a positive impact on human development. Its ideals were imperfect, as ours most certainly are, but you can't say with any certainty that Rome was not a force for progress, as well as tyranny. Much of human history subsequent to Rome's fall was devoted to trying to reconstitute it--on different terms. The European Community is itself a fine example. America is a different example, aspiring to be a Republic, not an empire--and of course falling short of that aspiration quite often, but you know, there is a difference between commercial and military domination, and we're not so commercially dominant anymore, are we? You may have your eye on the wrong threat.

And some empire--Rome would sneer at our meager foreign possessions. Some modern conservatives here aspire to the "Pax Americana", by which they mean our dominance over the world, but their attempts at achieving this have been hamhanded and incompetent. Many of us aspire differently--but we still aspire. It's not a bad thing--you just have to know the difference between ideals and reality, and balance out the two.

Giving up implies having had faith beforehand, and I just don't have faith in people, but in leaders and institutions.


Then sorry, but you're a fool. Without good people behind them, all institutions will degenerate and fail. It's an invariant law of human history. We agree noble intentions are not enough, but nothing much matters in their absence.

Marx was a "racist" inasmuch he was a man of his generation.


Marx and Lincoln could both be said to have racist ideas inflicted upon them from youth--difference is, Lincoln transcended his prejudices, rose above them, EVOLVED. Marx simply wanted revenge, I think--and saw the proletariat as a means to that end. He had no problem with the subjugation of 'inferior' peoples--he wanted western capitalism to take over the world, so that his beloved dialectic could take what he wrongly assumed was its inevitable shape.

Lincoln was not fool enough to think that we can always know what is right, or expedient, or what the future holds--a supreme pragmatist, there were nonetheless lines he would not cross, ideals he would not betray, no matter what the cost--his ideals cost him his life, but I doubt knowing that would have changed his course one iota--he clearly did know it, on some level. He was infinitely Marx's superior. We still haven't caught up with him. Perhaps we never will, but it's worth a shot.

Everyone was racially prejudiced back then, even sincere Socialists like Jack London. Even abolitionists like Lincoln himself were as prejudiced as they come.


Honestly, you've been infected with some pretty nasty prejudices yourself. and not the useful kind.

Alright, I'll steal one from a man who was neither racist nor simplistic, hence far removed from both Marx and Engels and Fuller:


You just said we're all racists, but let's see who you mean.

Man isn't a noble savage, he's an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I'm interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it's a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.


And who came up with that?

Fuller was never a visionary; perhaps neither was Kubrick, but in that quote the latter proved himself far more insightful. Too bad White dog wasn't directed by him.


Oh geez--this is your ideal? Stanley Freakin' Kubrick, one of the most dysfunctional human beings who ever lived? A borderline sociopath is your role model?

Can I ask--if Kubrick wasn't a racist, how come nonwhite people play such a marginal role in his films? Why on earth would you assume he was guiltless of racism? Because he was too narcissistic to identify with any group?

Kubrick is Fuller without the life experience (or a healthy sex life) but with an even better visual sense, to be sure--also better at getting a lot of money out of movie studios. I'll look to him for splendid imagery, and sometimes good scripts (that he was fortunate enough to have written for him by others), but you'll never find wisdom there. And you need some, kid. You're in danger of becoming what you hate.

That quote is shallow and self-justifying (we're all bad, so I don't have to be good), and not even close to being an argument. Try again.

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Nothing to add on the dog since, as you correctly say, I still have to read the book.





I agree that film did not work, but do you really think Guy Fawkes would have translated to a U.S. setting? Hell, the Republicans seem to have just adopted Guy Fawkes as their mascot. Google it. []

I don't even think they should have recycled a 1980s graphic novel for their purpose. They could have built their own story from scratch -- hell, with all the David Mamets and Steven Zaillians and Richard LaGravaneses they've got at their disposal, where is a hipper-than-thou, cultured, uncompromising screenwriter when you really need him?!?!?!?




Moore was writing a graphic novel--it didn't cost much to tell that story. American filmmakers have, in fact, done scathing assaults on America,

yeah sure, when was the last time that happened? In the 70s? Because mind you, ever since the advent of the Bush administration, mainstream media have been nearly monolithic in their lack of self-critique. REAL self-critique.

I sincerely hope you don't come up with "W" as a counterexample, or else I'll get angry.


He wrote it out of anger against Thatcherism, and a feeling that the Tories had established permanent rule--which of course they hadn't--they were just about ready to fall (...) below.


Yes of course, I know the mindset and the setting of Moore's novel. That's what I'm saying, it did NOT belong here and now.




No, prejudice does that as well--racism is different in that it's a SYSTEM of prejudging people--it's not based on anything real. It's been taken to the conceptual level, and conceptualized defensive instincts are a BAD IDEA. You need to be able to know when a prejudice has been invalidated, but you can't if you are invested in that prejudice. Prejudices start out as a cautious evaluation of reality, but when internalized, they become a way of blocking out reality--which serves nobody's interests in the long run.

The clarification is unnecessary, and from a qualitative, heuristic point of view the difference is spurious. If prejudices end up affecting one's interaction with others (hence following my definition of racism) it's because they have been "locked" and "conceptualized" the way you say beforehand, perhaps for a long time. And "locking" or "conceptualizing" them either translates into my definition of racism, or is not racism at all.

After all, racism that does not end up showing up somehow beyond the person's mind, is not proper racism. You have to understand that racism is a manifestation of a will to show others one's own purported superiority. It comes from the need to feel superior to others. Racism is meant to be displayed, to friends and foes. There is no such thing as hermetic, ascetic, labore ab intras racism. It is either open (to someone, whoever it is) or inexistent.





How old are you? Lest you ask the same question in return, I'm old enough to know better. There are good people in this world. Not enough, but they exist. E.M. Forster put it best in "Two Cheers for Democracy." Look it up sometime. They're out there. I've met them. PERFECT people; that's something else again.

I don't think it has anything to do with age (not physical age, for that matter) and I think you miss the point here.

Goodness is a cultural (or should I say social) construct, a social lubricant. Morality in general too, and ethics, needless to say. There are good acts because a moral code says they are. There are good thoughts because they can translate into good acts. But people are just apes with a sophisticated culture. Morality is the path to social stability. Not sure Marx would agree on that, though .

That's the basic mistake whenever confronting racism, sexism or any other manifestation of the basic nature of mankind. People like you are willing to take every step to denounce the evils of these manifestations -- a commendable task which I share, too -- but are unwilling to go all the way through with the unremitting conclusions of their intellectual pursuit and end up turning away from the end of the logical clause. Which is like adding 2+2 and refusing to look at the 4 that we know will be there. You berate the symptoms, yet are unwilling to point at the disease, if it really is a disease.




Which real-life example?

Racism, for instance.


Any racist would tell you otherwise. It's a war of their choosing, but a war nonetheless. A war they keep losing.

You're too naive. I'm sorry I have to tell you this.


You know, there's a flaw in that argument--in that many proponents of racism are not intellectually mediocre. If only. The Germans were among the most sophisticated people on earth. But under certain historical pressures, aided and abetted by intellectually advanced philosophies that were badly misapplied, that just led to a more sophisticated AND brutal form of racism. No, racists may suffer from insecurities and resentments, but don't we all? It's how you react that matters.

Nazi Germany didn't suffer from racism, it suffered from nihilism. To underscore or deny the influence of nihilism in Nazi doctrine is to completely misunderstand the true nature of fascism. Or totalitarianism. You can't understand that because you've never lived under a political system designed to destroy the essence and the nature of a whole collectivity of people, or of a whole country.

Nazi Germany made an extensive use of racism because it was its tool to galvanize the (using a moral code once again) worse thoughts and worse potential acts of German rural and middle-class society, which was deeply entrenched by anti-Semitism, by a deep inferiority complex (a land-locked country surrounded by lands it considered alien and hostile) and by a resentment far beyond anything you can imagine with respect to the Allied powers of WWI. Were any other tool available or more convenient to their devices, they would have used it as well. As it happens, racism was their best tool, hence they used it.

And I'll tell you, you'll find very little (if any) creative minds behind doctrinal Nazism. Not even Goebbels qualified as a creative mind. He wasn't even a brilliant journalist as his original intention was. He was, this is true, more intelligent than the bulk of his peers (with the exceptions of von Schacht and Schmitt) but then, his only real feeling towards his fellow correligionaries was a deep contempt for their intellectual mediocrity, so he could hardly be an example for you. Saying that the Nazis weren't mediocre just because Goebbels wasn't is like saying that all Republicans are as smart as Karl Rove or William Buckley.

Same applies to Drieu la Rochelle, Ferdinand Céline and all the other French writers who became collaborationists.

I'll agree with you, the cultural level of many Nazis was far above any stereotypical racist you can think about in your side of the Atlantic, but that doesn't mean intellectual prowess. That just means more than a century with one of the best educational systems in the world. Same reason why so many people mistakenly consider Ashkenazi Jews the smartest people on a genetical basis, when in fact it has a cultural basis: they have a higher intellectual average because they're the ones having their (Central) European ancestry closer to them in their genealogical tree, and the Austro-Hungarian was yet ANOTHER of the best educational systems in the world.




So let's examine that argument--you were sure that America's racism would prevent him from being elected

No, that's what I'm saying, I knew he would win.

--then he was elected by a landslide--then you decided AFTER THE FACT that his election was meaningless.

I knew he would win, and I knew his victory would mean nothing.

Does Obama decide anything beyond some domestic policies (healthcare or otherwise)? No. Will he remodel or reshape the relationship of his country with the rest of the world? No. Will he bring peace to the Middle East? No. Will he make the life of minorities significantly better than it is now? No.

That's why they put him where he is, my friend. He spearheads, but he doesn't rule, nor decide. What did you expect? A messiah?




You are, (...)

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

I read it time ago, and I must say this conversation is starting to get slightly annoying. If you want someone to condescend to, you've chosen the wrong person.



Yes, but Rome also had a civilization that pretty nearly every modern thinker agrees had a positive impact on human development. Its ideals were imperfect, as ours most certainly are, but you can't say with any certainty that Rome was not a force for progress, as well as tyranny.

Better, or worse progress than there would have been without it? Ask yourself that.

Bear in mind that Rome didn't come just out of anywhere. It inherited nearly everything it was from Greece. It destroyed cultures that only a biased interpretation would deem less sophisticated than its own.

Frankly, other than the ability to maintain its influence to this day, and to knock the daylights out of anyone who dared to question their authority (be it Carthaginians, Dacians, Thracians, Jews or Celtiberians) I don't know what is there to admire in Rome. Stability? Greece was less stable and yet more admirable in its achievements during its shorter lifespan. I'm not sure, either, whether the world would have been better or worse without them.



Then sorry, but you're a fool. Without good people behind them, all institutions will degenerate and fail. It's an invariant law of human history.

The Catholic Church has maintained itself during 2000 years, securing the ignorance of thousands of people for centuries, aligning itself with the powerful whenever they committed abuse, and trying to put every obstacle it could to the advancement of science and the progress of civilization.

It didn't degenerate because its intent hasn't changed since the times of Saint Paul. Probably even Jesus himself knew the social and political implications of the global dementia around him. It didn't fail because they're still making headlines, for reasons familiar to it since the dawn of christianity: pedophilia and corruption. Oh, and some of them also feed yogurts to poor children in Guatemala, occasionally. Not everything had to be bad, did it?


So here's an institution without a single good person behind it, that has lasted 2000 years. A clear counterexample to your rule.


Marx and Lincoln could both be said to have racist ideas inflicted upon them from youth--difference is, Lincoln transcended his prejudices, rose above them. Marx simply wanted revenge, I think--and saw the proletariat as a means to that end.

With all due respect, this paragraph is among the most ridiculous, puerile things I've read in a lot of time.


Honestly, you've been infected with some pretty nasty prejudices yourself. and not the useful kind.

No idea whatsoever what that means.



And who came up with that?

Kubrick.



Can I ask--if Kubrick wasn't a racist, how come he never even tried to give a black man a significant role in any of his films? Why on earth would you assume he was guiltless of this universal sin?

Because the cinematic establishment of his day would have made it impossible.
Because the black actors and stock characters available by then (and by now, let's not forget it) wouldn't be useful for his quest of a higher truth which affected everyone. He was an ambitious man, that's not a bad thing. Little could he do with Sydney Poitier, Woody Strode, Cleavon Little or Denzel Washington in a title role during the 70s or 80s if he wanted to portray his vision of a universal problem. Half the audience wouldn't have been interested in his movies to being with.

Oh, I'm sorry, you thought that because Denzel Washington portrayed the prince of Aragon in a Branagh film, that would open the doors of black actors to all significant films, roles and characters? Sorry to break your bubble. But that's the way it is. If you don't like it, go argue with the idiots who do the casting in Hollywood -- and the millions of idiots who would never expect to see a black face in a significant - a really significant, I mean - role in a really significant movie.

Same way they could have put a black guy in the role of the Mexican in "Touch of evil", and yet they didn't. Heston looks less Mexican than any of the many blacks living in Mexico nowadays. Go argue with representatives of Welles' estate, see how many film critics or audience members would have hailed the film as a masterpiece had that happened. Even if it still WERE a masterpiece.

OK, let's not go back in time. Let's stick to the 70s. Dustin Hoffman's role in Straw dogs. Put a black actor portraying the mathematician. I want a black guy portraying David Sumner, in the same years during which Kubrick did his best work, see how successful the movie would have been. How many studios would have financed. How influential they would have been for posterity. How many critics would have endorsed it. How many audiences would have swarmed the theaters. How many books and articles would have been written about it.

This is the country you live in. It's not my fault. It's not nice. But that's the way things are. And will be. Wake up, and shake the land of Oz off your sleepy eyes.



Kubrick is Fuller without the life experience, but with an even better visual sense. I'll look to him for splendid imagery, and sometimes good scripts (that he didn't write), but you'll never find wisdom there. And you need some, kid. You're in danger of becoming what you hate.

Kubrick was Fuller albeit less compromising, less cowardly and with more brains. Wisdom is proximity to the truth, and the truth (the higher truth, not the tiny bits you and everyone sees in their delusions of morality) is sometimes difficult to stomach. But it is there. So Kubrick did have wisdom to offer.

Don't quite understand the last two sentences, not sure you want to expand on them either.

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Nothing to add on the dog since, as you correctly say, I still have to read the book.


It's a pretty quick read--and worth going through more than once. I am increasingly thinking you won't like it. But maybe I'm just saying that to make you read it.

I don't even think they should have recycled a 1980s graphic novel for their purpose. They could have built their own story from scratch -- hell, with all the David Mamets and Steven Zaillians and Richard LaGravaneses they've got at their disposal, where is a hipper-than-thou, cultured, uncompromising screenwriter when you really need him?!?!?!?


You're assuming they can make whatever they like. Or that David Mamet is a revolutionary who never compromises, which is weird.

yeah sure, when was the last time that happened? In the 70s? Because mind you, ever since the advent of the Bush administration, mainstream media have been nearly monolithic in their lack of self-critique. REAL self-critique.


Well, leaving Michael Moore aside, I'm wondering offhand what MAINSTREAM filmmakers in other countries make films that could actually get them in trouble these days. I can think of plenty of scathing social critiques, of varying qualities--I agree film as a whole is in a pretty decadent state, but that's true almost everywhere--Iran makes some pretty good movies, but I hope you're not suggesting they feel at liberty to criticize their government directly.

If you're arguing that the only social critique that matters is "America is an awful place", maybe not everyone believes that? Though far as our right wing is concerned, EVERY Hollywood movie they don't like is an attack on our country--in the sense that Hollywood has been winning the culture war for a long time, they've got a point.

I sincerely hope you don't come up with "W" as a counterexample, or else I'll get angry.


And I might faint.

But regardless of his many creative limitations (which tend to go with the mainstream thingy, like it or not), why ISN'T Oliver Stone a direct contradiction of what you were just saying? He makes mainstream films, with mainstream stars, that go aggressively after basic assumptions of the American mainstream.

Is he a great filmmaker? I tend to think not, but I can't honestly think of one other filmmaker in OR out of Hollywood, who has managed to do what he did on the massive commercially successful level that he did it--even Frank Capra tended to pull his punches, but Stone just wades in, both fists flying, and then they give him Oscars. It's a testament to his chutzpah, at the very least.

And now you're going to say it didn't change anything--so it doesn't matter. But you were just talking like the Wachowskis making V for Vendetta into a movie about--I dunno--a crazy person dressed up like Benedict Arnold overthrowing a totalitarian parody of the existing U.S. government?--like that would have mattered. It would probably have been ungainly and overblown, like everything else the Wachowskis have done since The Matrix. But whatever it could have been, whatever it might have said, however it might have done at the box office, it would still be just a mass entertainment, which might or might not have some valid points to make, that have been made many times before.

Like Avatar--the highest-grossing most expensively produced movie of the last few decades (I always adjust for inflation), which is basically about a future America trying to loot an unspoiled paradise inhabited by blue ten foot tall Indians, who defeat America with the help of giant beasts and a rebel Marine. And everybody OTHER than our extreme right wingers loved it. Actually, I still haven't seen it, but I really HATE 3D movies.

Did it change anything? I dunno. What movies you like can you point to that have definitively changed anything, in a concrete and undeniable way? What novels, what oil paintings, what statues, what symphonies, what theories? We believe our culture affects us, but isn't it really us affecting our culture? An interactive process, perhaps. An internal dialogue. Of which movies are just a small (and generally derivative) part.

If you don't think movies change anything, and you think that's what movies should be doing, why are we still talking about movies? I think you just want to have your relentlessly negative opinion of America confirmed by an American filmmaker on a large scale. But c'mon--even Godard would have never made a film that was Anti-French. And he could have. He just didn't want to. What good would it do? Self-hatred isn't the answer to anything.

And honestly, the mere fact that you didn't even MENTION Avatar--you probably didn't even think of it--proves that you're a classic case of Orwellian Nationalism. You just block out everything that doesn't fit your neat little assumptions.

Yes of course, I know the mindset and the setting of Moore's novel. That's what I'm saying, it did NOT belong here and now.


Let's just agree that Hollywood does not get Alan Moore, has never gotten Alan Moore, will probably not ever get him in the future, but will go on optioning his work as long as he keeps making it, because it's so damn brilliant. And he will keep on selling the rights to his work (when he happens to own the rights), because comic book writing pays like ****.

The clarification is unnecessary, and from a qualitative, heuristic point of view the difference is spurious. If prejudices end up affecting one's interaction with others (hence following my definition of racism) it's because they have been "locked" and "conceptualized" the way you say beforehand, perhaps for a long time. And "locking" or "conceptualizing" them either translates into my definition of racism, or is not racism at all.


Big words, but you didn't say anything.

After all, racism that does not end up showing up somehow beyond the person's mind, is not proper racism. You have to understand that racism is a manifestation of a will to show others one's own purported superiority.


It can be that, but it can also be perceived as a defense against encroachments into one's own sense of place and culture. Europe is finding out now that it's pretty easy to be racist when there's a LOT of nonwhite people hanging around--after sneering at America all these years. Fighting racism is hard work--but easy from a distance. As you know.

I don't think it has anything to do with age (not physical age, for that matter) and I think you miss the point here.


I'm not convinced you made one for me to miss.

Goodness is a cultural (or should I say social) construct, a social lubricant. Morality in general too, and ethics, needless to say.


And yet you said it.

There are good acts because a moral code says they are. There are good thoughts because they can translate into good acts. But people are just apes with a sophisticated culture. Morality is the path to social stability. Not sure Marx would agree on that, though [] .


Hey, who said apes can't be good? Jane Goodall would disagree, and she would actually KNOW.

That's the basic mistake whenever confronting racism, sexism or any other manifestation of the basic nature of mankind. People like you are willing to take every step to denounce the evils of these manifestations -- a commendable task which I share, too -- but are unwilling to go all the way through with the unremitting conclusions of their intellectual pursuit and end up turning away from the end of the logical clause. Which is like adding 2+2 and refusing to look at the 4 that we know will be there. You berate the symptoms, yet are unwilling to point at the disease, if it really is a disease.


That's a rather troubling 'if'.

Racism, for instance.


Far too vague an example. Be concrete. Negative overgeneralizations are, in fact, a racist's stock in trade.

You're too naive. I'm sorry I have to tell you this.


I'm sorry I keep laughing at you when you do.

Nazi Germany didn't suffer from racism, is suffered from nihilism.


Sure, and America doesn't suffer from obesity, it just eats too much.

And I'll tell you, you'll find very little (if any) creative minds behind doctrinal Nazism.


Psst! You find very little (if any) creative minds behind doctrinal ANYTHING. Stalin and his ilk were equally mediocre, but there were great minds behind some of their ideas, which they saw only as a means to power, as did Hitler and Goebbels.

Same applies to Drieu la Rochelle, Ferdinand Céline and all the other French writers who became collaborationists.


Two words--Charles Maurras.

I'll agree with you, the cultural level of many Nazis was far above any stereotypical racist you can think about in your side of the Atlantic, but that doesn't mean intellectual prowess. That just means more than a century with one of the best educational systems in the world. Same reason why so many people mistakenly consider Ashkenazi Jews the smartest people on a genetical basis, when in fact it has a cultural basis: they have a higher intellectual average because they're the ones having their (Central) European ancestry closer to them in their genealogical tree, and the Austro-Hungarian was yet ANOTHER of the best educational systems in the world.


They have a higher intellectual average because it took brains to survive as a Jew in Europe--and because they were outsiders, which always encourages creative approaches to life and its discontents.

No, that's what I'm saying, I knew he would win.


Because America is so racist?

I knew he would win, and I knew his victory would mean nothing.


Ah, I misunderstood your "Yes I did". But you still underestimate the "Yes we can." It's so easy to pretend nothing matters--it's equivalent to saying the grapes are sour because you can't reach them.

Does Obama decide anything beyond some domestic policies (healthcare or otherwise)? No. Will he remodel or reshape the relationship of his country with the rest of the world? No. Will he bring peace to the Middle East? No. Will he make the life of minorities significantly better than it is now? No.


Can you prove any of that? No. Is there substantial evidence to the contrary? Yes. Will he fix everything? No. Has anyone else? No. Would his failure to completely fix anything he sets out to fix make him a complete failure? I repeat--HOW OLD ARE YOU?

That's why they put him where he is, my friend.


He put himself there, my patsy. You don't even know a man when you see one.

I read it time ago, and I must say this conversation is starting to get slightly annoying. If you want someone to condescend to, you've chosen the wrong person.


I beg to differ. First of all, I didn't choose you. Secondly of all, if I had, what you just typed would amply vindicate me in that decision.

Better, or worse progress than there would have been without it? Ask yourself that.


We don't know. Remind yourself that.

Bear in mind that Rome didn't come just out of anywhere. It inherited nearly everything it was from Greece. It destroyed cultures that only a biased interpretation would deem less sophisticated than its own.


It could be argued that we know about many of these cultures because of Rome. And many would have perished anyway--or caused other cultures to perish. Rome is hero and villain, destroyer and preserver, ideal and cautionary tale. It's too big to pigeonhole, but you seem to have nothing BUT pigeonholes, which makes me think you're not in a good position to intelligently critique racism.

The Catholic Church has maintained itself during 2000 years, securing the ignorance of thousands of people for centuries, aligning itself with the powerful whenever they committed abuse, and trying to put every obstacle it could to the advancement of science and the progress of civilization.


Now you're just reciting boilerplate. The Church actually accelerated the advance of western civilization, preserving the knowledge of Greece and Rome, encouraging scholarship, underwriting many important scientific and artistic developments while (unsuccessfully) discouraging certain others--you may not think that's a good thing, but it's a fact. Why else would western civilization have become so dominant? The Church is not the only reason, but it's an indispensable one. Or was. We may not need it anymore. I guess it's up to the Church itself whether it prefers change or death--but that's not just the Vatican's problem, is it now? Neither is pedophilia, or an unwillingness to face facts.

It didn't degenerate because its intent hasn't changed since the times of Saint Paul.


Paul of Tarsus would hardly recognize the modern church as his work, let alone his intention. Sheesh, you're actually taking the church's own grand pronouncements about its inviolate line of succession SERIOUSLY.

Probably even Jesus himself knew the social and political implications of the global dementia around him.


Jesus believed God was coming to change the world in his lifetime--which was false--and that we should behave every day as if God was coming to change the world--which is true.

It didn't fail because they're still making headlines, for reasons familiar to it since the dawn of christianity: pedophilia and corruption. Oh, and some of them also feed yogurts to poor children in Guatemala, occasionally. Not everything had to be bad, did it?


Good people, good choices. Bad people, bad choices. No institution can be all good, we agree. Some, like The Third Reich, can be all bad, because their ideals are fundamentally corrupt. The fact that some Catholic clergy continue to try and do good in this world, even at the risk of their lives, after seeing such corruption in their own ranks, simply proves that good people do exist.

So here's an institution without a single good person behind it, that has lasted 2000 years. A clear counterexample to your rule.


In your own head, but nowhere else. Even some of the Popes were pretty good men--not nearly enough, I'll grant you. And power always corrupts to some extent. The Church may be doomed by its own bad choices, but you still owe it far more than you want to acknowledge.

With all due respect, this paragraph is among the most ridiculous, puerile things I've read in a lot of time.


With all due amusement, I'll take that as a compliment.

No idea whatsoever what that means.


I get that.

Because the cinematic establishment of his day would have made it impossible.


In Kubrick's day? Like hell.

Because the black actors and stock characters available by then (and by now, let's not forget it) wouldn't be useful for his quest of a higher truth which affected everyone.


I have some bad news for you. You're a racist.

He was an ambitious man, that's not a bad thing.


Also a pompous ass with delusions of grandeur, but the racism thing is worse.

Little could he do with Sydney Poitier, Woody Strode, Cleavon Little or Denzel Washington in a title role during the 70s or 80s if he wanted to portray his vision of a universal problem. Half the audience wouldn't have been interested in his movies to being with.


Hey, lots of people weren't interested in his movies anyway. They do tend to drag on quite a bit, you know. Barry Lyndon, ::snorreeeee!::

Oh, I'm sorry, you thought that because Denzel Washington portrayed the prince of Aragon in a Branagh film,


I swear I was not thinking of that film. I like it, but it's not meant as a racial statement. Denzel was just a fantastic actor to play the prince, and Shakespeare's comedies and problem plays take place in a sort of never-never land, so they went with one of the very best actors they could choose. Also a major draw, to this very day--bigger than most white actors.

that would open the doors of black actors to all significant films, roles and characters?


I didn't think that, but it is happening, albeit not as fast as I'd like.

Sorry to break your bubble. But that's the way it is. If you don't like it, go argue with the idiots who do the casting in Hollywood -- and the millions of idiots who would never expect to see a black face in a significant - a really significant, I mean - role in a really significant movie.


And you get to define what roles are signficant--like, for example, now that a black man is President of the United States, and the single most powerful and influential person on earth, that is no longer a significant role.

Same way they could have put a black guy in the role of the Mexican in "Touch of evil", and yet they didn't. Heston looks less Mexican than any of the many blacks living in Mexico nowadays.


I believe Welles did not want a white man, but I'm equally sure he didn't want a black man. And didn't he cast himself as Othello? Oh you so did not see that coming.

This is the country you live in.


It's a pretty messed up country in a whole variety of ways, but so are all the other countries. The country you're describing, however, exists only in your head.

It's not my fault. It's not nice. But that's the way things are. And will be. Wake up, and shake the land of Oz off your sleepy eyes.


You're not actually a teenager, are you? Please tell me I haven't been wasting my time on a first-year university student.

Kubrick was Fuller albeit less compromising, less cowardly and with more brains.


He was Fuller with better writers, better producers, more money, and a crumbling studio system that let arrogant auteurs get away with murder, with results that ranged from sublime to silly (See "Heaven's Gate")

Wisdom is proximity to the truth


Which a wise man knows is always elusive, and never fully perceived by any one person--we all have blind spots. That's why we need each other.

So Kubrick did have wisdom to offer.


About human alienation, sure. He knew that very well. But he didn't know that wasn't all there was. And honestly, if you had to pick a movie director as the font of all wisdom, why not at least Fellini, DeSica, Kurosawa, Bergman, Leone--all far superior filmmakers, with far more to say, and they said it far better AND WITH FAR LESS COMPROMISE THAN KUBRICK.

Don't quite understand the last two sentences, not sure you want to expand on them either.


Keep working on it. I'll do the same.

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but I think we'll have to leave it here. We're clearly coming from very different mindsets and I just can't argue rationally with you.

I will answer your points though;


- Michael Moore and "legitimate critique": you think that the notion of constructive critique is necessarily linked to an optimistic conclusion, and this is wrong. Some problems can be solved, some can't. Michael Moore is a mediocre filmmaker, his criticism (in all its grandiloquence) is rather mild, and he's anything but a candidate for the poignant debate he asks for.


But regardless of his many creative limitations (which tend to go with the mainstream thingy, like it or not), why ISN'T Oliver Stone a direct contradiction of what you were just saying? He makes mainstream films, with mainstream stars, that go aggressively after basic assumptions of the American mainstream.

Now this is good. This is a textbook case in shallow analysis.


Is he a great filmmaker? I tend to think not, but I can't honestly think of one other filmmaker in OR out of Hollywood, who has managed to do what he did on the massive commercially successful level that he did it--even Frank Capra tended to pull his punches, but Stone just wades in, both fists flying, and then they give him Oscars. It's a testament to his chutzpah, at the very least.

Yeah sure, even Griffith pulled his punches too, he portrayed "black" people on screen, at least people who meant to look black on screen (which I guess puts him above Kubrick in your scale).



Like Avatar--the highest-grossing most expensively produced movie of the last few decades (I always adjust for inflation), which is basically about a future America trying to loot an unspoiled paradise inhabited by blue ten foot tall Indians, who defeat America with the help of giant beasts and a rebel Marine. And everybody OTHER than our extreme right wingers loved it. Actually, I still haven't seen it, but I really HATE 3D movies.

Now this is too much. Avatar as an epitome of bold, subversive filmmaking. Have you read what you just wrote?


If you don't think movies change anything, and you think that's what movies should be doing, why are we still talking about movies? I think you just want to have your relentlessly negative opinion of America confirmed by an American filmmaker on a large scale. But c'mon--even Godard would have never made a film that was Anti-French. And he could have. He just didn't want to. What good would it do? Self-hatred isn't the answer to anything.

You keep missing the point. I don't mean criticism to become an attack. You take any criticism which does not adjust to your mild standards (now that you mention Avatar, I can see what your standards are, they're not even mild, they're non-existent) as an insult to your country. This is utterly stupid.


And honestly, the mere fact that you didn't even MENTION Avatar--you probably didn't even think of it--proves that you're a classic case of Orwellian Nationalism. You just block out everything that doesn't fit your neat little assumptions.

OK this has to be framed and put somewhere. Quoting you, I'm sooo stealing this paragraph. Not a compliment, mind you.


Big words, but you didn't say anything.

Yes I did. Read again, not diagonally this time.



It can be that, but it can also be perceived as a defense against encroachments into one's own sense of place and culture. Europe is finding out now that it's pretty easy to be racist when there's a LOT of nonwhite people hanging around--after sneering at America all these years. Fighting racism is hard work--but easy from a distance. As you know. []

Europe already knew about racism, of one or other sort, ever since your country was a colony. Whoever sneered at America, however, did so at a time in which there was little difference between the south of your country and the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Back then, "sneering" was justified and it didn't even apply to America as a whole as Europeans were quite aware that the Civil Rights movement came from the very same country. So simplism is a crime that can not be blamed on the European public opinion, however easy it might look from a distance .


I'm not convinced you made one for me to miss.

Yeah, I don't know what exactly are we discussing, other than establishing your whimsy naiveté all along.


And yet you said it. []

Said what?


That's a rather troubling 'if'.

What if it were an innate evil? Can you fathom the idea, or are you just so entrenched in your Rousseaunian view of mankind that you just don't see beyond it?

Nice guy, that Rousseau, by the way. Wrote and wrote and wrote about the innate goodness of man, yet left his chambermaid pregnant 5 or 6 times and gave away all the babies to the Enfants-Trouvés foster home (which, mind you, was not exactly a 4-star hotel). Consensus has it that none survived for long.

I guess that's what a Jesuit like Rousseau would deem a discourse on goodness.




Sure, and America doesn't suffer from obesity, it just eats too much. []

Ahhh so that was the order then. Racism came after nihilism, that's the way the put it in Houghton-Mifflin history books, don't they? The ones with the nice and glossy pictures and the 5-word sentences.



Psst! You find very little (if any) creative minds behind doctrinal ANYTHING. Stalin and his ilk were equally mediocre, but there were great minds behind some of their ideas, which they saw only as a means to power, as did Hitler and Goebbels.

Difference is, Stalin DID coexist with Lenin and Trotsky, who were anything but mediocre according to any standard. He did not coexist with Marx, but he did have a number of gifted brains around him that actually showed on a regular basis their contempt for his mediocrity.

In Nazis, it was the other way around. First thing Nazis did was kill off or banish or scare off all the creative people in their country, And mind you, there were many. Take the Bauhaus or even Fritz Lang, for starters.

In the USSR, on the contrary, some undeniably creative people (such as Maiakovsky or Eisenstein) even worked along with the regime for a time.




Two words--Charles Maurras.

Four words: far below the others.

I hope I'm not talking to a former Jesuit school student who switched his allegiances from right=wing Catholic ideologues (and even short-time consideration for a career in a seminar) to mild silly social democracy.



They have a higher intellectual average because it took brains to survive as a Jew in Europe--and because they were outsiders, which always encourages creative approaches to life and its discontents.

Naa that's the mythical version. Don't believe it. Things are far more prosaic and simple. Simple to explain, that is.

It also took brains to survive as a black in Newark in 1964 and yet they score less on average. Genetics? No. Culture and education. For generations. That's the secret. Not that difficult to guess, was it?


Can you prove any of that? No. Is there substantial evidence to the contrary? Yes. Will he fix everything, and would his failure to do so make him a failure? I repeat--HOW OLD ARE YOU? []

OK this will be simple, let's wait for a couple of years, see what the final summary of his administration turns out to be.


He put himself there, my patsy. You don't even know a man when you see one. []

You truly live in the land of Oz.


It could be argued that we know about many of these cultures because of Rome.

Yeah sure, we know a LOT about Thracians. We know so much about them, there is not even consensus on what they looked like (some saying they looked Nordic, others they looked like modern-day north Africans).

That's why we know so much about Apache or Five Nations, by the way.


And many would have perished anyway--or caused other cultures to perish. Rome is hero and villain, destroyer and preserver, ideal and cautionary tale. It's too big to pigeonhole, but you seem to have nothing BUT pigeonholes, which makes me think you're not in a good position to intelligently critique racism.

Says who, the man who will now say that the Catholic church is full of good people?



Now you're just reciting boilerplate. The Church actually accelerated the advance of western civilization, preserving the knowledge of Greece and Rome, encouraging scholarship, underwriting many important scientific and artistic developments while (unsuccessfully) discouraging certain others--you may not think that's a good thing, but it's a fact.

This, I have to say, was the part that made me decide this would be my last message to you. Idiocy incarnate. I just don't have (polite) words to describe this.


Paul of Tarsus would hardly recognize the modern church as his work, let alone his intention.

Oh yes he would. We wouldn't recognize the dresses people would be wearing, though.


Jesus believed God was coming to change the world in his lifetime--which was false--and that we should behave every day as if God was coming to change the world--which is true.

Yet another reason to stop this post interchange. Who the *beep* am I talking to, Phil Donahue?


Good people, good choices. Bad people, bad choices. No institution can be all good, we agree. Some, like The Third Reich, can be all bad, because their ideals are fundamentally corrupt. The fact that some Catholic clergy continue to try and do good in this world, even at the risk of their lives, after seeing such corruption in their own ranks, simply proves that good people do exist.

Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.




In your own head, but nowhere else. Even some of the Popes were pretty good men--not nearly enough, I'll grant you.

Yeaaah the Borgias for instance. Cream of the crop. They even had a penchant for wealth distribution.


And power always corrupts to some extent.

"To some extent". You left half the apple there. Nice way to brush off 90% of the relevant facts in three words.


The Church may be doomed by its own bad choices, but you still owe it far more than you want to acknowledge.

Yeah sure. I owe it so much that it's just a default part of my own personal mindset. I owe it so much that now that I come to think of it, I can come up with nothing in particular.


I have some bad news for you. You're a racist.

We'll come to that later. Oh this will be interesting, believe me.


Hey, lots of people weren't interested in his movies anyway. They do tend to drag on quite a bit, you know. Barry Lyndon, ::snorreeeee!::

A person who snored during Barry Lyndon, yet is seriously considering the possibility of overcoming his phobia to 3D in order to watch Avatar, cannot have an intelligent debate on anything whatsoever.


And you get to define what roles are signficant--like, for example, now that a black man is President of the United States, and the single most powerful and influential person on earth, that is no longer a significant role. []

I knew that was coming. Yeah sure. President of the United States. The most coveted role in the history of cinema. Say, for instance, in 24. Who was the most relevant character in 24? Dennis Haysbert? Or Kiefer Sutherland? Is Kiefer black? Are you an idiot? Are you not?



I believe Welles did not want a white man, but I'm equally sure he didn't want a black man. And didn't he cast himself as Othello? Oh you so did not see that coming. []

Yeah well you got me there, kudos to your strategy . Just a little detail, though: the only black actor he could have done it with, was Paul Robeson and he was blacklisted, and that would mean no more films for Orson.


It's a pretty messed up country in a whole variety of ways, but so are all the other countries. The country you're describing, however, exists only in your head. []

Yeah well you're not doing much of a service to the notion you think I have of the intellectual sophistication of many Americans, that's true.


You're not actually a teenager, are you? Please tell me I haven't been wasting my time on a first-year university student. []

You know what's truly disturbing? It's not only that you try to use your age as a sign of authority (as if being older didn't preclude from being more stupid). The truly disturbing thing is, I'm afraid you really are older than I am.

I'm saying this because I could have excused your stupidity had you been a 15-year old. 15-year-olds can afford being stupid.



He was Fuller with better writers, better producers, more money, and a crumbling studio system that let arrogant auteurs get away with murder, with results that ranged from sublime to silly (See "Heaven's Gate")

Yeah, thank God Lucas and Spielberg came to save the system and put it where it is now.


About human alienation, sure. He knew that very well. But he didn't know that wasn't all there was. And honestly, if you had to pick a movie director as the font of all wisdom, why not at least Fellini, DeSica, Kurosawa, Bergman, Leone--all far superior filmmakers, with far more to say, and they said it far better AND WITH FAR LESS COMPROMISE THAN KUBRICK.

You forgot Godard, Truffaut and Satyajit Ray. That would make a complete list of the filmmakers every film student should know about, if only by name.

My opinion is clear. You're a victim of prudery, ill-accepted prejudice and perhaps a very restrictive education (whether at home or in school, don't know and don't care), and you have tried to overcome this by hiding it under the rug and adopting every single dogma out of a fuzzy anti-racist credo you don't really understand or share in the first place. I think you are or have been a racist, and are more than willing to do the extra effort to shake that awful and negative prejudice out of yourself by means of denial -- just like the ostrich that puts its head in a hole in the ground as if to hide, just like the child who thinks no-one is watching him just because he closes his eyes. And in a mindset like this, whenever anyone comes to challenge your militantly benign view of people, it becomes apparent that this is nothing but a cuirass to hide in. It becomes apparent that your antidote to your own prejudice is just blind faith in people as a whole, because you don't know better. Or because you didn't see it worth the effort.

Got some homework for you. Watch "Storytelling" by Todd Solondz. The first episode. Hell, I'll even tell you to watch both episodes, now that I come to think of it, as you kind of remind me of Paul Giamatti's character a bit.

Bye there. It was amusing while it lasted.

reply

We're clearly coming from very mindsets and I just can't argue rationally with you.


We finally agree on something, but I don't think it's just a problem you have with me.

I will answer your points though;


I doubt it.

- Michael Moore and "legitimate critique": you think that the notion of constructive critique is necessarily linked to an optimistic conclusion, and this is wrong. Some problems can be solved, some can't. Michael Moore is a mediocre filmmaker, his criticism (in all its grandiloquence) is rather mild, and he's anything but a candidate for the poignant debate he asks for.


He's more of one than Kubrick, though--honestly, I don't think anything Kubrick ever did was a serious challenge to the status quo, or intended as such. Brilliant yes, sometimes. But so easy to dismiss.

Now this is good. This is a textbook case in shallow analysis.


This is a textbook case of you getting exactly what you claim to want, and then deciding you don't want it. And btw, I'm not a huge fan of his--I don't go around quoting him as a philosopher, at least.

Yeah sure, even Griffith pulled his punches too, he portrayed "black" people on screen, at least people who meant to look black on screen (which I guess puts him above Kubrick in your scale).


Parenthetically, I sometimes watch the way Birth of a Nation switches between the same actors playing saintly white people and malevolent sexually promiscuous black people, and think it's a pity Griffith never met Sigmund Freud. ;)

Griffith pulled his punches by way of substantially watering down the VERY extreme racism of the novel he was adapting. And yet today, this massively popular and influential film is hardly ever seen, except in film history classes and maybe at Klan socials. That's change, kiddo.

Now this is too much. Avatar as an epitome of bold, subversive filmmaking. Have you read what you just wrote?


Did you read that I haven't seen it? It's a film about an evil America being defeated by a noble race of savage ET's, and it's grossed several billion dollars.

Now regardless of what you think of Cameron's filmmaking techniques (and I try hard not to), that's somebody with a dream and an agenda flying right in the face of American chauvinism, and making it work. What more do you want? You don't even KNOW what you want.

You keep missing the point.


You keep failing to make one!

I don't mean criticism to become an attack. You take any criticism which does not adjust to your mild standards (now that you mention Avatar, I can see what your standards are, they're not even mild, they're non-existent) as an insult to your country. This is utterly stupid.


Yes, you are. And childish, and simple-minded, and hilariously petulant, prissy, and pedantic.

Europe already knew about racism, of one or other sort, ever since your country was a colony.


It's not nice to brag.


Nice guy, that Rousseau, by the way. Wrote and wrote and wrote about the innate goodness of man, yet left his chambermaid pregnant 5 or 6 times and gave away all the babies to the Enfants-Trouvés foster home (which, mind you, was not exactly a 4-star hotel). Consensus has it that none survived for long.


Yes, I believe Marx sired an illegitimate unacknowledged son by a servant as well--who actually ended up as a member of the British proletariat. Did I so much as mention Rousseau, btw? Not one of my favorites, FYI.

Difference is, Stalin DID coexist with Lenin and Trotsky


No longer than he had to. Lenin was lucky to die of natural causes. Trotsky, not so much. But in any event, neither man was a great theorist--we've seen what became of their ideas when put into practice. Brilliant, sure--but such fools. And they lived to realize a monster had taken control of their precious revolution--that they'd been totally outplayed by that single-minded Georgian.

In Nazis, it was the other way around. First thing Nazis did was kill off or banish or scare off all the creative people in their country, And mind you, there were many. Take the Bauhaus or even Fritz Lang, for starters.


A whole lot of these people left by choice--and a very good choice it was, particularly considering how many were Jewish.

In the USSR, on the contrary, some undeniably creative people (such as Maiakovsky or Eisenstein) even worked along with the regime for a time.


Few ended well. Damn, you really do want to be an apologist for the unforgivable, don't you?

Four words: far below the others.


Maurras was deeply and profoundly wrong about many things--but was held in such high regard by his fellow French intellectuals that after the war (that he was on the wrong side in), they didn't vacate his seat in the Academy until he died. A mind of the first rank, which went horribly wrong--and that happens very often. Too often. You don't have to worry about it, though.

Do you think Dostoevsky was a mediocre intellect too? Because if there was ever a racist in this world......

I hope I'm not talking to a former Jesuit school student who switched his allegiances from right=wing Catholic ideologues (and even short-time consideration for a career in a seminar) to mild silly social democracy.


I was never for one minute on the right wing--I even dabbled in Marxism, before I realized just how much of a pipe dream it was--and how utterly without conscience. But yeah, I went to a Jesuit-run liberal arts college--you wouldn't believe how many out-and-out socialists (of no religious convictions at all) taught there. I probably owe my brief flirtation with Marxism to them--it took CUNY Grad to disenchant me. I had ONE Jesuit as a teacher the whole time I was in college. He taught me reasoning--I guess you skipped that course.

Naa that's the mythical version. Don't believe it. Things are far more prosaic and simple. Simple to explain, that is.


Simple to the simple-minded. Like you.

It also took brains to survive as a black in Newark in 1964


The history is different--the Jews were not robbed of the right to be literate for generations, nor were they brought to Europe as slaves. Nor were blacks in Newark systematically subjected to LITERAL genocide--in the south, to a limited extent, yes--still not remotely up to European standards.

In any event, African Americans contributed to our culture more than any other group, including Jews--in the areas where they were allowed to excel. As Jews were allowed to excel in certain other areas. So thanks for proving my point. Again.

OK this will be simple, let's wait for a couple of years, see what the final summary of his administration turns out to be.


He's already done more than the last three Presidents combined.

You truly live in the land of Oz.


Then be quiet, before I drop a house on you!

Yeah sure, we know a LOT about Thracians. We know so much about them, there is not even consensus on what they looked like (some saying they looked Nordic, others they looked like modern-day north Africans).


We know about Spartacus.

That's why we know so much about Apache or Five Nations, by the way.


The Apache aren't gone, you know.....

http://www.yavapai-apache.org/

You do realize that Marx saw such cultures as pointless and irrelevant, right? That he would have said Rome's absorbing of smaller more primitive cultures was an indispensable part of his glorious dialectic? As necessary as the imperialism of Europe and America, as necessary as capitalism and the bourgeois. Why, you are verging on cultural nationalism here--HERESY! You will clearly have to be reeducated.

Says who, the man who will now say that the Catholic church is full of good people?


Statistically speaking, when there are over a billion of you......

This, I have to say, was the part that made me decide this would be my last message to you. Idiocy incarnate. I just don't have (polite) words to describe this.


You don't have the educational background, either.

Oh yes he would.


Oh brilliant riposte, sir.

Yet another reason to stop this post interchange. Who the *beep* am I talking to, Phil Donahue?


Hey, better than talking to some snot-nosed kid who doesn't know the Soviet Union is no more.

Yeaaah the Borgias for instance. Cream of the crop. They even had a penchant for wealth distribution.


Sloppy straw-man argumentation--Leo XIII helped legitimize labor unions. John XXIII was a genuinely good man, as people of no religious belief whatsoever could see--and yes, some Popes were evil incarnate. So? Your venom is making you not only irrational, but absolutely impotent as an enemy of any institution you hate. You're any reactionary's wet dream of a whipping boy. Geez, how easy do you want to make it for them?

A person who snored during Barry Lyndon, yet is seriously considering the possibility of overcoming his phobia to 3D in order to watch Avatar, cannot have an intelligent debate on anything whatsoever.


Avatar is almost certainly a bad movie from a stylistic standpoint, but we were talking about CONTENT, not STYLE. It's a mainstream film that asks Americans to take a look at themselves from a different and hostile POV--not the first, nowhere near the best, but by far the most widely-seen.

You thought the Wachowskis could make a brillliant adaptation of V for Vendetta if they reset it in America, which pretty much destroys your credibility as a purist film buff for all time.

I knew that was coming.


Btw, I do not for one minute believe you thought Obama would win, until a short time before he did, at which point it was no great feat to predict. I can SEE you telling people that he'd never get past the primaries. Me, I started imagining him as President two years before he declared his candidacy.

Yeah sure. President of the United States. The most coveted role in the history of cinema. Say, for instance, in 24. Who was the most relevant character in 24? Dennis Haysbert? Or Kiefer Sutherland? Is Kiefer black? Are you an idiot? Are you not?


I'm a person who knows the difference between reality and fiction, and you evidently do not.

Yeah well you got me there, kudos to your strategy [] . Just a little detail, though: the only black actor he could have done it with, was Paul Robeson and he was blacklisted, and that would mean no more films for Orson.


Welles would have picked himself no matter what. A great director; an even greater ham.

You know what's truly disturbing?


Anybody who thinks Barry Lyndon is a great film? I mean, you're not going to say he couldn't have cast anybody but Ryan O'Neal, are you?

It's not only that you try to use your age as a sign of authority (as if being older didn't preclude from being more stupid). The truly disturbing thing is, I'm afraid you really are older than I am.


Translation: I nailed it, and you're embarrassed.

You thought I was so smart when I agreed with you--isn't it funny how that happens?

Yeah, thank God Lucas and Spielberg came to save the system and put it where it is now.


Now you're so far offbase, you're playing in another star system. You are clearly never going to take my measure--yours was not much of a challenge for me--I've met you before--in grad school--and you were American that time. I know--shocking.

You forgot Godard, Truffaut and Satyajit Ray. That would make a complete list of the filmmakers every film student should know about, if only by name.


Not even close, you rube. Sheesh, if that's your idea of a complete list, I have sorely overestimated you. And didn't you forget Kubrick? Who doesn't quite belong in that august company, but even so....

My opinion is clear. You're a victim of prudery, ill-accepted prejudice and perhaps a very restrictive education (whether at home or in school, don't know and don't care),


Strike One.

and you have tried to overcome this by hiding it under the rug and adopting every single dogma out of a fuzzy anti-racist credo you don't really understand or share in the first place.


Strike Two.

I think you are or have been a racist


That's just a foul tip, because nearly everyone has been a racist in some way or another.

and are more than willing to do the extra effort to shake that awful and negative prejudice out of yourself by means of denial -- just like the ostrich that puts its head in a hole in the ground as if to hide, just like the child who thinks no-one is watching him just because he closes his eyes. And in a mindset like this, whenever anyone comes to challenge your militantly benign view of people, it becomes apparent that this is nothing but a cuirass to hide in. It becomes apparent that your antidote to your own prejudice is just blind faith in people as a whole, because you don't know better. Or because you didn't see it worth the effort.


And yer out. But bonus points for the creative use of cuirass, a word I'm guessing you rarely speak out loud.

Bye there. It was amusing while it lasted.


At least you know when you're beaten. If nothing else.

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"Now how do you feel, as a black person, about some other black person being so obsessed with retraining a dog he doesn't even like, that he goes right on trying to do so after the dog easily escapes an enclosure meant to hold wild animals, then goes hunting for black people, and fatally mauls one--in a church?"

I feel it was irresponsible and they should have shot the dog then, but his pride was getting in the way.

"The film also implies that by learning to stop hating black people, the dog must then start to hate white people."

No it doesn't, the guy actually shoots the dog when it attacks a white person. What would be the point of retraining the dog to hate black people instead of whites? The whole point of the girl taking the dog to the trainer was to deprogram the dog's "attack mode" all together. What good would the dog be to her if it hated white people?

Keyes:"You see Julie I would like to develop a foolproof method of reconditioning, so that anyone, anywhere, within a matter of weeks, will be able to ERADICATE that racist poisoning permanently . . . But they all stop in that crucial instant where tampering with a dog's twisted mind just boomerangs Julie: And then what?
Keyes: Homicidial maniac, he could turn on anybody
Julie: Even me?

As in, the dog gets confused and attacks anyone, it is not supposed to be specifically trained to hate white people.

"Well, couldn't Fuller at least have had the dog attack the old bastard who abused him as a puppy? It would have made perfect sense, because he's trying to get the dog back, and he's hardly going to believe what McNichol's character told him without proof. Then the message would be that the dog woke up to who his real enemy was, and the monster the old man created would rise up to destroy him. "

The dog would never know the white guy as his enemy because the elderly man was the dog's only glimmer of hope when the dog was being abused. The elderly man probably never raised his hand to the dog, and treated it better very well. That was the whole premise behind training a white dog, showing that black people could not be trusted and white people could.


"But Fuller doesn't want to send that message--he wants to say the dog can't be cured, because racism can't be cured."

-You know the whole film I was expecting the dog to be killed, so it did not really bother or surprise me when this happened. And I do not believe it indicates that racism cannot be cured, I think it indicates that racism is extremely hard to cure. This dog did show many glimmers of hope remember? To me the film suggests that if we start early (this dog had this mentality since he was a puppy) then it is that much easier to intercept racial prejudice.That dog was eight years old, pretty old for a dog, and the only racist in the film was described by you as "elderly and sinister-looking". They both had these racist ignorant ideas ingrained in their heads for a while. By having the girl yell "Don't listen to a damn thing your grandfather says !" to the grandfather's granddaughters, that represented some form of hope for these young girls.

But even if it was meant to say that racism cannot be cured, I still do not consider the film racist because it would suggest to me that "Racism cannot be cured, so never start it."

Honestly, you get what you want to get out of this movie. The acting was subpar, at times I didn't understand why they didn't just shoot the dog, but for the preceding reasons I believe it does have SOMETHING to say.

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I feel it was irresponsible and they should have shot the dog then, but his pride was getting in the way.


Why didn't it get in the way when the dog goes after a white man?

No it doesn't, the guy actually shoots the dog when it attacks a white person. What would be the point of retraining the dog to hate black people instead of whites?


You are not remotely getting my point. The dog had been trained to go after black people. The trainer trying to work with him tells McNichol's character that by retraining the dog to accept black people, he may drive the dog insane--setting up the finale, where the dog is trusting of a black man, and tries to kill a white man who has never done him any harm. And I'm saying that's nonsense. Dogs don't think that way. Probably even most people aren't that crazy. We know of a number of instances where white men in white supremacist groups learned to get past their hatred--and they didn't go crazy and start attacking white people.

The whole point of the girl taking the dog to the trainer was to deprogram the dog's "attack mode" all together. What good would the dog be to her if it hated white people?


None. That was not what she wanted, and not what Keyes was trying to do. But it's the excuse for the dog going crazy at the end of the film, which is simply because Fuller wants to end with a big violent flourish, but can't use the same plot twist Romain Gary did--because he's only got ONE black character of significance in this movie, whereas Gary showed us a lot of people of both races, so he didn't have to make one black man represent all black men. Which is, you know, a form of racism, even if meant positively.

It's not based on the book, or anything that would actually happen in such a situation. The problem is that in the book--well, read it.

Keyes:"You see Julie I would like to develop a foolproof method of reconditioning, so that anyone, anywhere, within a matter of weeks, will be able to ERADICATE that racist poisoning permanently . . . But they all stop in that crucial instant where tampering with a dog's twisted mind just boomerangs Julie: And then what?
Keyes: Homicidial maniac, he could turn on anybody
Julie: Even me?

As in, the dog gets confused and attacks anyone, it is not supposed to be specifically trained to hate white people.


But the dog doesn't attack anyone--he doesn't attack Julie--he attacks a white man far across the enclosure he's in, ignoring the people next to him.

The dog would never know the white guy as his enemy because the elderly man was the dog's only glimmer of hope when the dog was being abused.


The dog would not have gone crazy from being retrained, but that didn't stop Fuller from saying he would. If you're going to write an improbable scenario anyway, why not one that delivers a fitting finale?

[quote The elderly man probably never raised his hand to the dog, and treated it better very well.[/quote]

For the record, that whole thing in the script about using black junkies to make the dog hate black people--they made that up in the script. It's not how these dogs were trained, and the mere notion that it would be so easy to find black men to do this is itself a bit racist. You will never find that mentioned anywhere but in this film. Best as I can tell, it never happened, anywhere. Just like it wouldn't be so difficult to retrain a dog like this, it wouldn't be so difficult to train him in the first place--dogs pick up on who their people like or dislike very easily, and being pack animals, they trust their alphas to give them the straight dope about who is or is not a threat. It's not racism--dogs are not capable of that. We are. Yay us.

You're saying, btw, that the dog, having learned to trust Winfield's character--who was fighting savagely with him for weeks--would randomly choose to attack an old white man who is far away from him, and had never harmed him--while ignoring Winfield, who had physically abused him. But that he wouldn't attack his former trainer--who resembles the Burl Ives character--probably not a coincidence.

-You know the whole film I was expecting the dog to be killed, so it did not really bother or surprise me when this happened.


The dog dies in the book too, but in a very different way--a much more powerful and meaningful way--the dog ends up accusing us all.

And I do not believe it indicates that racism cannot be cured, I think it indicates that racism is extremely hard to cure.


It shows us one white human racist, who clearly can't be cured. It shows us one white canine 'racist', who goes crazy from being cured. I don't see any glimmer of hope there.

To me the film suggests that if we start early (this dog had this mentality since he was a puppy) then it is that much easier to intercept racial prejudice.That dog was eight years old, pretty old for a dog, and the only racist in the film was described by you as "elderly and sinister-looking". They both had these racist ignorant ideas ingrained in their heads for a while. By having the girl yell "Don't listen to a damn thing your grandfather says !" to the grandfather's granddaughters, that represented some form of hope for these young girls.


Um, yeah--they'd listen to the shrill young woman they never saw before or ever will again, over their grandpa.

But even if it was meant to say that racism cannot be cured, I still do not consider the film racist because it would suggest to me that "Racism cannot be cured, so never start it."


Honestly, do you really think it was a radical message in 1982 to say "Racism is bad"? Plenty of films said it a lot better, decades before--and they showed us that not all racists are old and ugly. Or dogs, fercryinoutloud.

Honestly, you get what you want to get out of this movie. The acting was subpar, at times I didn't understand why they didn't just shoot the dog, but for the preceding reasons I believe it does have SOMETHING to say.


It just doesn't say it very well.

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This movie is not racist but shows how bad stupid racist's who are to much of a coward to be honest uses a innocent dog as his weapon of racism. The movie it self is a strong statement against racism in particular it shows that the innocent ones are often the victims. The dog had to be killed by the deprogramming workers because he became a "black dog". He went from attacking blacks as he was taught to attacking the woman who had tried to save his life because he could not break the conditioning either blacks were bad or whites. This is the truth racism is not just the act itself but how it affects everyone. Personally I felt this was the most anti-racism film I have seen. Stories of "White", "Black", "Red", "Yellow" dogs are common but kept low key in the media and passed of as it was the breed or it was just a bad dog. With even trying dogs can be taught to be racist by their owners the same as children by their parents.

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It would be more likely that we would see such a "black against whites" movie nowadays since we have a Black History Month, but not a White History Month. Who's the racist? Blacks. You guys chose to keep yourselves separate from whites. You point out color a helluva lot more than whites ever did.

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[deleted]

I bet this guy sees racism in everything.

And ignores when blacks are killing other blacks in the hundreds across the US.

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Okay, I've thought about it. It would not make the film racist unless it portrayed those actions as good and praiseworthy. Is that what this film does? No? Okay then. It's not racist. But by all means, keep sticking "lol" into your posts, just in case someone mistakes you for a person with intelligence.

-There is no such word as "alot."

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Well I think some people will ultimately see what they want to as is evident from the thread. To me this movie is "about racism" for sure, but is it racist, as in anti-black film? I didn't see anything in the film to suggest that. The dog is not potrayed as a hero, his master is continuosly condemned through the film. The actress also has a proper go at him in the climax. The Dog's fate is also not that of a hero. I did not see anything in the film that is purposefully done to denigrate black people and to celebrate the white dog. As I said, some folks see what they want to. Also, the fact that it is based on a true story only validates the point that the film is not going out of the way to deal with a certain theme. It is among us.

While the movie deals with racism, to me, it deals with a bigger issue of "hate" which could be against anyone which could be on the basis of caste, sex, creed, religion or colour. An innocent creature can be mad into a killing machine.

Last Seen:-
Santa Sangre (9/10)
Idi i Smotri (10/10)
Juliet of Spirits (9/10)


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Well I think some people will ultimately see what they want to as is evident from the thread.


What I want to see is a decent adaptation of Gary's book--or at least a movie that holds together and conveys a coherent point. This just ain't it, but it has powerful visuals.

To me this movie is "about racism" for sure, but is it racist, as in anti-black film?


No. It's just not effectively anti-racist. And can I ask--are intentions all that matter in art?

I didn't see anything in the film to suggest that. The dog is not potrayed as a hero, his master is continuosly condemned through the film.


The dog is treated as a scary irredeemable monster who actively seeks out black people to maul (which never happened in the book); his former master is barely referred to in the film.

The actress also has a proper go at him in the climax.


1)That was hardly the climax.

2)Oh yeah, that'll teach him--he got scolded by Kristy McNichol. He'll never train racist dogs again. My question remains--why couldn't HE be the one the dog had a proper go at in the actual climax? What on earth did poor Burl Ives do? The notion that the dog would think Burl Ives was his former master doesn't wash, because dogs are more about smell than sight.

The Dog's fate is also not that of a hero.


A racist would have no trouble seeing him as such--he's practically given superpowers. In the novel, the dog is, in a way, the hero--the villain is humankind.

I did not see anything in the film that is purposefully done to denigrate black people and to celebrate the white dog.


And yet black people are barely in the film, except for Paul Winfield's character, who is portrayed as failing in his mission, which causes several good people to be attacked by the dog. The film is not intentionally racist, but it's not effectively anti-racist. It's just too confused, because it doesn't want to tackle the issue of human racism directly--and in 1980, you didn't have to work through canine metaphors to do so.

As I said, some folks see what they want to.


"I like the film, therefore it is not racist in any way, even unintentionally."

Also, the fact that it is based on a true story only validates the point that the film is not going out of the way to deal with a certain theme. It is among us.


If you'd read the book, you'd know the film just barely resembles the real-life events in question--even the novel takes liberties with the real story, as Gary acknowledged. And I'm sorry, you're living in an age where the President of the United States is being called the n-word, and you need this film to remind you racism exists?

While the movie deals with racism, to me, it deals with a bigger issue of "hate" which could be against anyone which could be on the basis of caste, sex, creed, religion or colour. An innocent creature can be mad into a killing machine.


But that would only have been an effective approach if we'd had a chance to see how innocent he was, and we never did. The real dog escaped from a car, found a stroller with a black baby in it--and licked the baby's face.

And then a black man retrained him to attack white people, at least according to Romain Gary. The point being that this kind of hate is in ALL of us. Not just doddering old stereotyped southern racists. It's in you too. Like it or not. As George Orwell said, the only way to really fight bigotry and prejudice is to first acknowledge them within yourself. Fuller could never do that. He had racist attitudes, like most people, but he wasn't capable of that kind of honesty. He did a film supposedly about racism against Japanese people--where the ONLY racist person was Japanese!

He was the wrong person to adapt Gary's novel. The film did not deserve to be shelved all these years, it is clearly intended to have an anti-racist message, but to say that black people had no right to be worried about the brutal image of two black people being mauled by a white dog--two scenes that DO NOT OCCUR IN THE BOOK--is actually being a bit racist. You don't get to tell somebody else what offends them. You at least try to listen to their concerns. Fuller didn't. A wonderful man in many ways, but also an arrogant self-involved S.O.B.


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But they HADN'T watched it at all. There was no "NAACP Boycott". The NAACP heard the film was being made, and sent some representatives to talk to Fuller, just to get an idea of where he was going with the story. He got offended that they even dared to question his racial sensitivity, and basically threw them off the set. The NAACP was not happy about this. You wouldn't be either. The film was never screened for them.
Fuller made movies dealing with racism and also specifically white racism against blacks long before such subjects were explored in mainstream movies. The issue he presents in Shock Corridor--how the weight of racism could drive an intelligent, educated black to embrace the racist view and become anti-black himself--shows the depth of his concern over this divide in America and the urgency he placed on making racism a topic for exploration, debate and hopefully solution.

I never saw White Dog--because it got squashed (I need to rent it from Netflix). So I can't say whether Fuller was successful or not in adapting the book (which I read) and whether what he wanted to get across is so shrouded in dramatic irony that misinterpretations are understandable, but I'm absolutely certain that Fuller in his old age didn't suddenly become racist. It pained me at the time this movie was supposed to be released that Fuller--one of the pioneers at presenting the troubling issue of racism in American--was labeled racist himself.


-----------------
"I've always resisted the notion that knowledge ruined paradise." Prof. Xavier

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Fuller made movies dealing with racism and also specifically white racism against blacks long before such subjects were explored in mainstream movies.


I don't know how you reach that conclusion. The Crimson Kimono is the ONLY film Fuller made dealing specifically with racism, prior to making White Dog. But there are no racist white people in the film--the Japanese American protagonist is depicted as being obsessed with white people being racist towards him, but his fears turn out to be paranoid delusions. Somehow Japanese internment camps during WWII are never once mentioned (though Fuller had briefly referenced them in The Steel Helmet, years earlier). Asian Americans have specifically singled out this film for criticism of how Asian Americans have been portrayed in American movies. Again, good intentions, dubious results.

And frankly, if The Crimson Kimono is an anti-racist film, so is Broken Blossoms (1919), made by the same guy who made Birth of a Nation.

The issue he presents in Shock Corridor--how the weight of racism could drive an intelligent, educated black to embrace the racist view and become anti-black himself--shows the depth of his concern over this divide in America and the urgency he placed on making racism a topic for exploration, debate and hopefully solution.


Shock Corridor is my favorite of all Fuller's films, and a remarkable piece of intelligent and provocative (yet still entertainingly trashy and exploitative) low-budget moviemaking. It's Fuller at his best, doing what he does best. And I still wouldn't call it a great movie. But it's pretty damn good.

The black character in question is in the movie for all of ten minutes or so. He's not the protagonist. Not one white person in the film is shown behaving in a racist manner towards him. Including the white southerner who thinks he's the Confederate general Jeb Stuart.

What's more, while the segments dealing with this character are clearly anti-racist in the sense of depicting the effects of racism on a black student attending a formerly segregated southern university, we're told that the whole country was pulling for this kid--and he crumbled under the pressure. Well, clearly the whole country wasn't pulling for these students, and far as I know, they all somehow managed to avoid ending up in a mental institution. Now I understand realism is not the film's aim, and the scenes with Hari Rhodes (who had more prominent roles on major television shows during the same period) are a really nice metaphor for the insanity of racism--but the end result is that the only unabashed out-in-the-open white racist in all of Fuller's films is a black man who sometimes THINKS he's a white racist.

I never saw White Dog--because it got squashed (I need to rent it from Netflix).


It should have been released years ago, but having wanted to see it for many years, I found it ultimately disappointing. However, having seen it, I was moved to look up Romain Gary's book, which I found far more interesting and truthful. And then I read The Roots of Heaven, which is even more impressive, and likewise far superior to the movie that was based on it (though at least that movie made some attempt to be faithful to the book). And so I thank Samuel Fuller the screenwriter for introducing me to a much better writer.

So I can't say whether Fuller was successful or not in adapting the book (which I read) and whether what he wanted to get across is so shrouded in dramatic irony that misinterpretations are understandable, but I'm absolutely certain that Fuller in his old age didn't suddenly become racist.


So am I. His attitudes never changed--but the times did. And he couldn't change with them. He was never a racist, but to say ONLY racists have racist attitudes is ridiculous. We are all racist to some extent. And many genuinely anti-racist people of a previous generation will seem racist to later generations, because expectations have changed--and while that often leads to unfair assessments, it's still a victory for all of us. But Fuller didn't see it as one. His goal was not to end racism. His goal was to make A Film By Samuel Fuller.

Sidney Poitier had his first leading role in a Hollywood movie in 1950--in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's "No Way Out." He played a doctor who treats the poor--here's the plot synopsis--

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Way_Out_%281950_film%29#Plot

Fuller's first role for a black character was in "The Steel Helmet" in 1951--the black soldier in question is in a minor supporting role. Nobody in the film shows the slightest racism against him, and when a North Korean prisoner taunts him about how he can't ride in the front of the bus, he makes a speech that would have offended even moderate civil rights activists at the time.

The Red: I just don't understand you. You can't eat with them unless there's a war. Even then, it's difficult. Isn't that so?
Cpl. Thompson: That's right.
The Red: You pay for a ticket, but you even have to sit in the back of a public bus. Isn't that so?
Cpl. Thompson: That's right. A hundred years ago, I couldn't even ride a bus. At least now I can sit in the back. Maybe in fifty years, sit in the middle. Someday even up front. There's some things you just can't rush.


Yeah, like probably a black President will take a THOUSAND years.

I mean--? First of all, there WERE no buses in the 1850's, and there wasn't any segregation of the later Jim Crow variety--that's because most black people were SLAVES. Systematic segregation of public transport and other facilities came AFTER emancipation, when it became necessary to find some other way to keep black people down. Slaves could travel in the same cars as their masters, no problem. Fuller writes like somebody who hates racism in the abstract, but knows absolutely nothing whatsoever about its history, or how it works. And doesn't really want to know. He made several westerns--not ONE has a prominent black character in it. John Ford made "Sergeant Rutledge" in 1960. That's a trailbreaker.

The hero of The Steel Helmet is a white army sergeant, who is a bit of a racist--just like the hero of Run of the Arrow is a white confederate soldier, who can't deal with the south having lost. Both are supposed to be seen as admirable men, in spite of their prejudices, which we're supposed to believe they have overcome, though they never admit to having been wrong. I'm not saying there's no place in films for characters like this--but Fuller sure as hell never tried to give us a black protagonist with that level of complexity. Winfield's character in White Dog is the first and ONLY black protagonist in all of Fuller's movies. And in the end, he's a failure, whose obsession leads to several innocent people being badly hurt--and then he shoots the dog.

So tell me again how Sam Fuller dealt with racism earlier and better than anybody else in Hollywood.

It pained me at the time this movie was supposed to be released that Fuller--one of the pioneers at presenting the troubling issue of racism in American--was labeled racist himself.


Nobody labeled him racist--show me one statement from the NAACP or anybody else that Sam Fuller was a racist. They were just concerned that all the most powerful scenes in the film involved a White German Shepherd trying his damndest to kill black people.

In the film, as opposed to the book, the dog is DETERMINED to escape confinement, find black people, and chew them up--he shows almost supernatural abilities in the pursuit of this goal.

The real dog was not looking for trouble in any way, as you know--he was conditioned to see black people--really, just adult black males--as a threat to himself and his humans. He was reconditioned to love black people in a very short time. If the trainer hadn't been racist himself, the dog would have been fine. But that's the point--racism is a human problem we inflict on other humans, and even sometimes on dogs, our only real friends in this world. Gary wrote that the only place in this world you can be sure to find a man worthy of the name is in a dog's eyes--then the dog finally sees us--ALL of us--for what we are. But perhaps not what we'll always be. If we can find the strength to change. To make oneself worthy of the loyalty of a dog like Batka is, to me, a pretty solid goal in life.

That's the story that needed telling. Fuller may have aspired to be color blind, but in making this movie, he was tone deaf.

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the pc-police pretty much killed the film's chances. it's one of the best anti-racism films ever made, and so few have even seen it. thanks to naacp representatives. barging in on a director's set to make sure he's making a "socially responsible" film is insulting to anyone, especially when one is making a film as insightful and meaningful as this. i agree with the director's action of kicking the morons off the set. the pc gestapo aka naacp have no right to intrude on people's creative freedoms. they're the racists because they suspect people too quickly.

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Yes, it's such a great anti-racist film that it's made you refer to the NAACP as 'morons', 'gestapo' and 'racists'.

It's like blaming the Jews for Jesus being crucified, when you should be looking more at the Romans. The studio knew the film would flop, and get a lot of negative attention in the process of flopping. That's why they pulled it. Seriously, you really think the NAACP ever had the power to control what movies came out or not?

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Cool Ice cold

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[deleted]

The poster you're responding to wasn't questioning me. He was calling the NAACP racist Nazis because they had some qualms about a film where a white German Shepherd mauls black people to death, and nobody seems to care. I was questioning HIM. So apparently you think HE's God.


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[deleted]

I put rc on ignore after my last response to him, because it was obvious he was just going to keep repeating the same discredited talking points, and indulging his auteur fetish. It's sad, because he claims to love Fuller's work, and he doesn't remotely understand it.

So I missed the whole exchange between you and him (busy elsewhere), and then I see somebody on my ignore list is responding to somebody I'd responded to, so I de-ignore him to find out who it is.

And I have to be honest--I couldn't quite place the name. I argue with a lot of humorless fantypes online, on a lot of different subjects. They tend to bring out a sarcastic side in my nature that I am careful not to overindulge in real life, because I like having friends. They all end up kind of blurring together in my head, and I completely stop thinking about them after the argument is over, and I seek my diversions elsewhere.

So I had to go back and revisit our argument--damn, I really did a job on him. Clearly he's never going to forget it. I already did. Sorry.

So I completely missed whatever it was he said about kids. And it must have been pretty bad, I guess.

But can I just ask--roegcamel--before I put you back on ignore forever--when you were worshipfully absorbing the varied oeuvre of Samuel Fuller, a director I happen to hold in high enough regard to think he can survive a bit of critiquing--did you happen to see a movie called "The Naked Kiss"? Reformed hooker finds out her wealthy philanthropist benefactor is molesting children, and shoots him to death? Ring a bell?

It's a MUCH better film than White Dog, let me tell you--and frankly, a lot more relevant today in light of recent events--but it still got released back in the 60's, and did pretty well with audiences. This isn't a work-for-hire project based on somebody else's book, as White Dog was--this was Fuller's baby, all the way from early conception to final execution--it doesn't have any Kristy McNichols in it, and it makes all of society complicit in the evil it explores, not just some doddering old cliche who trains racist dogs.

And in it, Fuller makes it abundantly clear that adults who sexually abuse the innocent are, for him, the very lowest form of life on this planet.

Can I just say, if you'd ever had a chance to meet Sam Fuller, it might not have gone well for you? At all?



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[deleted]

Thanks. It's nice to be understood. And for me, rare. But somehow I just can't convince myself that's my fault. Must be the company I keep--online. Thank GOD I have better company offline. Including my dog. Who licks black faces every bit as enthusiastically as white ones.

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[deleted]

It seems that I've stumbled upon a thread where two monstrously arrogant pseudo-intellectuals (CLYONS and BURGOMASTER) are falling in love. Priceless.


Jealous?

First, let's clear the air about one thing:


As the saying goes, him who smelt it....

I never wrote about children in any way. The mods deleted my responses to BURGOMASTER, either because they felt I was being abusive toward him in some way (no profanity was used, so what gives?) or because he cowardly reported by comments as abuse.


My comments get reported as abuse all the time (by crybabies who can't take a bit of honest argumentation), but hardly any of my posts have been deleted--the mods are very lenient here, and as you might imagine, rather overstretched. There are probably thousands of active forums on IMDb. This is not one of the busier ones. So for them to even notice what you said, you must have said something pretty foul. And if Burgomaster had slandered you, they'd have deleted his remarks as well.

Once they were deleted, BURGOMASTER fictitiously wrote that he'd read my posts prior to their deletion and claimed, for others who might read his posts, that I had written perverse statements about children.


For the record--you said nothing whatsoever about children or sex? Nothing remotely offensive? And they deleted not just your first response, but all your subsequent ones, where you were responding to Burgomaster's alleged misrepresentations? Oh don't even bother to answer, I couldn't take your word for it anyway. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding, but I repeat--it's not easy to get in trouble with the mods here. And they deleted multiple posts of yours, and none of Burgomaster's. So his credibility is obviously greater than yours. And that clearly infuriates you.

BURGOMASTER is an eight year old, regardless of what his actual age might be.


Yes, we get that actual facts are irrelevant in the face of what you want to believe.

To believe him would be a large scale error.


I'm afraid that to believe you would be a worse one.

Furthermore, CLYONS, you didn't shred me in our WHITE DOG argument;


I'm shocked--SHOCKED, I tell you--that you think so.

you merely claimed that your opinions regarding WHITE DOG were superior to mine because you'd read the novel on which it was based, which had no relevance in our exchange whatsoever.


No, that's not remotely all I claimed. I made many other salient arguments, and anyone who cares can see that, because none of my posts were deleted.

If you consider that a "shredding" in any form, you're even more ignorant than I thought.


The more ignorant you think me, the more knowledgeable I feel.

By the way, CLYONS, your insistence that the 80s gave us absolutely no films of worth still churns my stomach.


Since all my posts are still up, would you mind showing me where I said that? I said something nildly disparaging about 80's filmmaking in general, I vaguely recall. I happen to like a lot of 80's films, but as a film buff, I do see a serious decline in artistry that commenced in that decade. Actually, White Dog itself refers to that decline. Sam Fuller would have very definitely agreed with me that movies were better before the 80's--back when he had a much easier time making his own movies, instead of taking work-for-hire projects like White Dog. He missed the old studio system, where he had an unusual degree of artistic freedom, due to his good relationship with Darryl F. Zanuck at 20th Century Fox. See, these are the kind of things you learn when you study film history, instead of just watching movies and having cheap self-indulgent opinions about them.

I guess you felt that films like THE ELEPHANT MAN, RAGING BULL and BAD TIMING were wanting at best. Do you really think anyone would care about the opinions of someone as snooty as that? I mean... do you?


You clearly do.

Yes, I saw THE NAKED KISS and I hold it in high regard. It's one of the finest Fuller efforts I've seen thus far, as is WHITE DOG.


You actually felt you had to answer that question. There is no hope for you.

Frankly, I'm shocked you liked that film, or any film for that matter.


You're probably shocked when it gets hot in the summertime, or the sun comes up at dawn.

It's also strange to me that when I asked you to cite one film from the whole of the 80s that you feel is even marginally rewarding you ran for cover, claiming I was getting too personal for your liking. An odd man you are, and that's putting it mildly.


I accept the compliment.

I hope you two clowns have a good time feeling superior, and best of luck with your budding relationship.


I hope your post doesn't get deleted before I'm finished responding to it. Now back on the ignore list you go, you sad silly mental deficient. Perhaps Burgomaster misjudged you. But if so, it wasn't just him, was it now? As all those deleted posts attest to. Bu-bye.

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Well, we HOPE he's a virgin, anyway......

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--because he's back on ignore, and life's too short, know what I mean?

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I think he's the fish, and just throw him back already. Too small.

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... I leave this thread for a month or so, and when I come back I find the hen house totally out of control, with up to three major contenders claiming the Rooster of the Thread title. Hours, and afternoons of bitten lips and cold sweat in the dark in front of the computer, expecting the next answer from one another. People with lots of free time available, alright. But still not of retirement age, that's the problem.

I have to say, from my experience this is the first time on IMDB that I actually had a falling out with someone whose positions I originally intervened to defend. But then, what could you expect from someone who comes up with this:


I had ONE Jesuit as a teacher the whole time I was in college. He taught me reasoning--I guess you skipped that course.

Hell, I'm glad I skipped that course. The guy learned how to reason and argue... with the Jesuits . Reading this was painful alright, but reading this in its context was offensive even to the Jesuits themselves. He doesn't even remotely master the oblique argumentation techniques that made them famous. Like a little boy playing with a firecracker and match. Do your reasoning teacher a favor and don't mention him by name here, or else he'll sue you for slander. There were even unreported hearings of underground tremors and noises next of Teilhard de Chardin's gravestone. You got some spiritual training left to finish, kiddo.

At least he laughs every now and then. Which means he's more the pajama-and-playstation type of nihilist loser, rather than the aggressive one. Hence no wifebeating, no antisocial behavior, etc. So be it for many years.

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that regardless of what your work is I find myself much in the same situation as you, hence little free time available, even less free time available to waste here.

Concerning lonely souls on the internet, they are not as 2-dimensional as their romanticized avatar might indicate:
http://www.tarantulas.net/funny/graphics/domesticEthug.jpg
That would even make them reasonably acceptable. Mildly amusing. The truth however, as you pointed out, is usually more prosaic, and slightly more depressing as well. They mostly fit the same profile. They're not very old or too young people, usually falling into the same rough age interval (say 40-50, sometimes younger). At those ages truth puts things where they belong with its usual cruelty, and an incontrovertible certainty arises on whether or not one has failed in life, coupled with the sensation that the remaining years will be less intense, and probably less interesting, than those spent so far. If the conclusion at this point is that the lifetime's aims haven't been fulfilled, what ensues is a deep frustration that can only be mitigated by blaming others, or maybe projecting one's own flaws on others or perhaps, as we speak, spending hours in anonymous forums starting arguments for no reason and dismissing others with a mildly abrasive (and usually ineffective, sometimes even pitiful) crackwise outburst and a .

Sound familiar? Never before did a laughter sign look so much as a shield to protect one's own private vulnerability. ... ... As I said, at least they spend their time here instead of venting their rage on someone. See it as a social service: the good deed for the day.

Oh boy, I can see those bitten lips in front of the PC already...

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You may not be quite young enough for roguecamel's tastes, though.

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even if that were true, I guess it would look better than Fracaso-Man & the Bongomeister Ensemble -- a surgical textbook case on how not to split Siamese twins if there ever was one.

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And here I was thinking maybe your wounds from our last encounter had healed. Still writing your little notes from underground. Still dreaming of The Revolution too, I'm sure.

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"Your bottom is black", said the kettle to the spoon.

Don't blame ya. I even know where the ennui comes from. Deep places where the sun doesn't shine. You went to the shrink the other day, he told you "you're a classical case of middle-aged depression", you said "well I'd like a second opinion", he said "well besides being a classical case of middle-aged depression, you're also very dumb".

Watch it with those stains on your pajama, by the way.

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Not only am I not seeing a mental health practitioner of any kind, I don't even wear pyjamas. And now you'll have to live with that mental image you made me put in your head. But given your growing affinity for a guy who had a bunch of posts pulled for what must have been some pretty unsavory material, I'm guessing you've got far worse ones in there.

Has anybody else noticed that these two clowns can't let go of a lost argument, no matter how effortlessly they've been outclassed?

(clyons puts MarxismReturnsAsFarce on ignore)

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Perhaps you missed this exchange from Tim Robbins' documentary about Fuller?

Robbins: "Hero."

Fuller: Don't believe in it.

Robbins: "Coward."

Fuller: Don't believe in it.

Robbins: "Fascist."

Fuller: Enemy of mankind.

Robbins: "Communist."

Fuller: Enemy of mankind.

Robbins: "Democrat."

Fuller: Mankind.


He wasn't right about everything, but he sure knew more than you, GuitarGentlyWeepingColllins.

Signed: A Democrat.

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- difference is, that aside from today my work and my private life will keep me another good three weeks from accessing the imdb save for sparse occasions, whereas this thread (and who knows how many others) has been foaming with slime all along. From more than one source. United Colors of Slime.

- difference is that I don't need to see roegcamel's or your own post history, let alone confraternize with him. In fact I don't care about him more than I care about you or Pajama-Man. He's not the one to blame for Pajama-Man's limitations.

- difference is that if I did, I'd probably find as much slime in Pajama-Man's post history as could possibly fit in one. And then some.



Well at least you know your vocabulary and some French too, I'll give you that. Too bad I took your Lorem Ipsum chunk, distilled it, sifted the deposits, subjected them a Brownian motion and took a square root out of the remnants, and all I came with is "don't bother my buddy". You don't want to go that way, my boy. Not with a guy who learned reasoning with the Jesuits, which is like learning Evolutionary Anthropology with Pat Robertson. This is the kind of guy that you wind up with on the same side arguing that 2+2=5 without even noticing how you got there in the first place. This is the kind of guy who'll tell you "look at the dead seagull" while pointing at the sky. This is the kind of guy who won't die of old age or disease, but of utter idiocy. Cause of death: acute imbecility followed by epistemic prolapse.


Anyway let's get to the points. You talk about looking at post histories. You have a very juicy one available in this very thread. Read it before having an opinion. Bathtub Boy says "White dog" is a flawed study on racism, I tend to agree with him and from there onwards a bipolar effluvium (slime optional) pervades the whole thread, with posts contradicting previous posts and conflicts arising from nothingness. Some pearls on how to make a person's flaws surface:

- he applauds my characterization of racism as the "socialism of imbeciles" but some posts later strenuously criticizes my linking of racism to idiocy, giving by the way some exceptions that actually work against him. First twitch on the self-esteem nerve.

- he displays what can only be characterized as a half-baked soufflé of social democracy and bon-pensant, post-May 68 progressivism (I know French too, you see), only to end up wholeheartedly defending Catholic beliefs and institutions "save for some unfortunate exceptions". The animal wiggled for a second time under the microscope, this time after very minor stimuli.

- he implicitly admits he harbored racist prejudice as a young man (this is where many things started to make sense to me concerning our whole conversation), yet also admits he dabbled with Marxism as well. Now the exact timeline in which these mindsets can take place in a man of his generation without intersecting one another is beyond me, but even more so is the fact that he now despises the latter as an aberration while "understanding" in his last posts the former, quite beyond the reasonably understandable. It's not that I'm a Marxist (which I've never been), but this is rather strange coming from a mild social democrat who looks for racism in an anti-racist movie with a magnifying glass.

- he clings to Charles Maurras as an example of a superb mind gone on the wrong tracks because of an extreme form of nationalism (a premise which is questionable to say the least) and yet his whole passive-aggressive bipolar episode began when I started to question the overall, "save for a few exceptions" as always, unquestionable goodness of his own country. Talk about seeing the straw in someone's eye and not the beam in your own...

- plus other minor demonstrations of idiocy, among them admitting his rather provect age when as a matter of fact most of his ramblings would have been justified in a still-immature individual, seeing Obama's victory as a global triumph (well naiveté may be blamed her rather than idiocy), citing a black president in "24", an absolutely secondary character, as an example of a relevant character doing relevant things in a relevant piece of art to counteract my claim that such situation is still impossible an industry such as Hollywood... and dumping the whole argument with a silly response after it didn't work, etc. Not to mention calling me a racist. Straw on the eye again, coupled with not reading carefully what I had written.


This is what back in my country we call empanada mental. A serious one. His religious education, whether it be at home or in school, can only be partially blamed for this since I've met people with similar backgrounds who dwarf his reasoning skills. You talk about slime and the wrong horse? Now that looks to me like a horse that's been given resin oil before the start of the race.

But I may be wrong, of course. Depends on each person's benchmark. Maybe mine is too high. At least he keeps laughing .

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Pajama Boy just put me (I guess that alias was aimed at me) on his ignore list.

Oh well, I know you're OBVIOUSLY reading this Pajama-Boy. And since you're at it, and much in the mindset of Ignatius' boys to make you feel comfortable, I'll engage you in a tad of hermeneutic appraisal. Few Lorem-Ipsum if you please, as I've got things to tend to; but it's never too late to say goodbye. You'll always have me here if you want, and I certainly won't put you on my ignore list, but I can't assure I will read all your answers diligently, let alone answer them on due time.

Quoting Preputius Vero from his never enough acclaimed "The rice fisher", which has been often quoted and seldom understood, let me take that excerpt which, if properly read, serves to describe those like you:

Altus Secundum Solipsistiae Homo Ostentores Lectorum Est.

Now that I think of it, the Bongomeister could, incidentally, apply some of the hermeneutics to himself as well.

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Are either of these poor schlubs really worth the effort, Burgo? Leave them to their insecurities. And, of course, their delusions.

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In just one day, one of you decided to end the conversation by means of (purported) ignore list, and the other has started spinning around himself with autistic pedantry.

I thought you two would show some more resilience...

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I thought you would finally show some intelligence. But it just doesn't seem to be there. Forgot to put you on ignore last night.

I'll have forgotten you ever existed in about a week.

Forgive me for saying, I doubt you'll forget me so quickly.

Heal.

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Of course you won't forget. Can't say the same about me, though.

Alright then, roll over and lick your nuts. I bet you do the same thing in all other internet discussions once it's established that you're nothing more than an overgrown putz. Go cry to your mamma. And wash that pajama of yours if you please.

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I don't have anything against afterbirths or amniotic coagulations, even if they show what looks like a semi-stable ego and a will to intervene in every event that takes around them with awestruck expression and a neverending will to understand. Epic rationalism if you wish. Welcome to the Equinoxial Adventure of Lope de Aguirre on Level 2 of your local grocery store. Every till cue is a forest of conspicuous looks, every step ahead is a challenge, every electric staircase is a forbidden threshold. That surprised, fascinated gaze, same as the one given by those who lose their bus or train and look into the inside of the vehicle searching for eye contact with the passengers. The fascination for the inner trappings, and unknown fabric, of ultimate reality. The will to understand, alright.

So I can feel sympathy for the Placentary Boys of the Slime-o-Rama. But it isn't a flattering thing to call anyone either, and if you keep riding this very strange sidecar of yours with Lope the BathTubBoy and his retinue (aka Men who stare at rubber ducks), I'll have to classify you in the category of vaginal discharge he now graces with his presence and I won't like it, since you seem to be a nice guy. At least you seem to be a bit more amusing and a bit less brain-damaged by catechism, lost promises of youth and general mental masturbation.

Come on, BathTubBoy... don't ignore me. Pleaaaase. Let's say our epistolary interchange would have been interesting if not for our being under so much pressure, alright? Let's try and find a common ground from all this mess. I'm sure I've got things to learn, even from you. Otherwise, what do you want to be, just thorn in the brush, a dot in our memory?

Memory, that large and dark graveyard. Let's take you out of there. Together we can. I just refuse to believe that my Tamagotchi broke down just by messing with it for one day

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There's something wrong here.

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... but I just want my Tamagotchi back I was playing with it and pushing buttons on it and now the Tamagotchi is no more.

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Hey Burgo, guess what? GoiterColon is actually following me to other IMDb boards, trying to get my attention. He just responded to something I said to another poster about the Robin Hood movie, which he and I had never discussed (and never will discuss). You click on the 'post ignored' thingy, and it tells you which person on your ignore list is not over you yet. My list is pretty long, and the people I'm ignoring are really obsessive, so I couldn't assume it was him. But I had a feeling it was him. And it was.

I bear the poor dimwit no ill will, and I'd hate to think he's obsessively reading and re-reading every single one of my IMDb posts, and devoting his life to refuting me. But I am, in fact, starting to think that.


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Or is idiocy really a trend these days in IMDB?

I guess you could tell BathTubBoy "Doctor, I have a problem, I have a double personality disorder" to which he'd answer "alright, let the four of us sit down and discuss it".

Cosas veredes, Sancho...

BTW I'm so NOT getting into that website. Childrenslit? I don't want to end up in some FBI list if you please.

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Hey, don't blame Hillbilly Country for these two, Burgo. Frankly, they don't seem bright enough to brew their own moonshine--they're just barely qualified to mix their own Kool-Aid. Oh yeah!

;)

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;) ?
Your good-ol' Retard Laughing Face, now in Demotic script?

Tamagotchi, when are you really going to put me on your ignore list... for real? What are you, a masochist?

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... that some of the first posts devoted to BathTubBoy and the Bongomeister two days ago hit the spot...

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Plus, you know what? I've squeezed enough juice out of this orange already. These two very unhappy people started being amusing in all their idiocy. But the truth is, I'm bored.

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Are you aware that you have nothing positive to offer to this or any other forum?

Are you aware that you're nothing but a little person?

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Is it actually possible to choke you with you own incompetence?

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It shouldn't be a secret by now that clyons is an idiot. A smoldering idiot. A dithering idiot. An idiot of nearly cosmical, teratologic proportions. A suppurating idiot. He's such an idiot that he nearly (the "nearly" is the problem, you see) causes anthropological curiosity or scientific awe, as if seen through a microscope wiggling among his fluids. He's probably one of the most idiotic individuals I've seen in IMDB. His stupidity is such that one is left to wonder: how could it be that so much stupidity fits into one single person without dripping off the sides. Total idiot.

But then, cylons is a private idiot since he stays there in his corner, suppurating idiocy at a regular pace (I guess laughter must play the role of transpiration in this physiological process), and doesn't bother anyone. He was born an idiot and simply stays that way, sometimes suffering relapses into further idiocy. With his pathetic attempts at snobbery and his "Readers Digest" sorry excuse for general culture. Well, what could you expect from an idiot. I sometimes walk by the street and the word "idiot" flares out of a noisy traffic argument and I think: that must have been clyons passing by. I hear the word "idiot" and I think of him. Almost like a form of nostalgia. How are you by the way, clyons? Idiot!


Bongomeister, on the contrary, is the pervasive type of idiot, the guy who looks for communicating vessels in order to extend his own idiocy, the kind of idiot whose posts nearly get blocked by the firewall. A quantum accident in and of himself. An insect of the internet, a species of pre-mental lifeform desperately banging the four walls of his own misery, losing oxygen and increasing entropy with idiocy as his only fuel. Entropic idiot, you got it. Like a free electron in a molecule of pure idiocy. There is an epic quality in bongo's idiocy, almost as if aimed at transcending his own condition and becoming a missionary for universal idiocy. A militant idiot. The kind of guy who goes to Colombia for coke and comes back with a Pepsi bottle. Yours is an idiocy that constantly verges on overdose. They gave you a dictionary and you asked where the index was. You're not even lucky enough to have Down's syndrome -- which, in a small hillbilly town with no Asians, would have granted you a stable job as a waiter in the local Ta Tung restaurant: "do you want mol spling lolls?". But you're not even given that blessing in disguise. Coexisting with your own idiocy is a daily challenge, life as a constant tragedy with occasional beams of sunlight.


Bongomeister, the most idiotic idiot I've met (along with clyons, the broken Tamagotchi, the shy little dwarf from Idiotenwald). I mean I'm sure there are more idiotic people out there, maybe in Paraguay or in Ullan Bator or Boise, Idaho, but of all the people I've met, BathTubBoy and Bongo are the only ones who actually bleed from the wound of their idiocy. You should form a music group: BathTubBoy and the Crying Colostomies. The genre: noise metal. Couldn't be otherwise.

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I can understand why some people may see this as racist. The black characters are for the most part represented as the victims of the story. In the context of the movie it makes sense but it´s not exactly political correct. Something can be racist despite its intent, even when it´s supposed to convey a message that´s profoundly anti-racist.

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There has been some mis-information given in this thread. The NAACP did in fact screen the film and felt that the characters were inflammatory. There was a constant cloud hanging over the film due to the NAACP threatening to boycott the studio. NBC later purchased the rights to the film, and the NAACP threated to boycott them too, so they did not show it. Make no mistake, the NAACP was all over the film with threats to boycott, contrary to what some said way up at the top of this thread.

It is silly now to think back that anyone could have seen this as racist. Of course it is also silly to think that some people claimed that a Walgreen's greeting card was racist, so there are a lot of silly people in the world.

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Just watched this film on Netflix. I had caught part of it years ago on cable, and hadn't seen it since. It is not a racist movie. It's a movie about an old racist white man who trained his dog to attack blacks. A white woman adopts the dog not knowing of it's background, and is outraged when she learns the truth, wanting the dog put to death. A black man tries to retrain the dog and eventually fails and has to kill it. The dog attacks an old white man near the end of the film. It is thought provoking and sad, but it is not racist. If you know what a film is about and you choose to watch, that is your choice. No one is forced to watch.

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