Helpless

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TitanAura:
I've seen my fair share of ACTUAL racism living in the Detroit area, and of every flavor too, especially against those of Arabic descent because Arabic = Muslim = Terrorist).

Sometimes I think the only "race" that exists in hollywood's eyes are black people.

Let's be fair, sometimes Hollywood stereotypes Arabs as fickle billionaires and erotic belly-dancers.

Hollywood has a lot of trouble with these issues, either the movie has to be about race (or sexuality, or class, etc.) or it tends to fumble around with the topic awkwardly. The funny thing is the most effective thing movies and TV could probably do is use different peoples in entirely mundane rolls. We don't need more movies trying to actively combat the stereotypes, we need to see that these people are simply normal.

But I suspect it will be a long time before that becomes commonplace.

This film's main character is a little annoying. She's from Mississippi, in the 1960s yet NOT a racist. It's a big flag that were supposed to like this character, played by a likable actress. What would have been more exciting would to have her actually been a racist, then through the life story of her maid, come to accept African Americans as equal citizens. In short, something more like American History X, and less like that stupid football movie with Sandra Bullock. Probably too ballsy for all involved though.

Personally my favorite tackling of this subject is from an episode of "Quantam Leap" from it's first season. For those unfamiliar, the main character in Quantam Leap is a scientist from the future who found the ability to time travel, but only within his own lifetime. The catch is, is that he has to inhabit people from the time period he leaps into. Let's just say in one episode he leaps into a black man in the 19060s. He goes into a diner and orders a sandwich, inadvertently starting the civil rights movement.

I saw it as more of a commentary on the utter cluelessness of Second-Wave feminism, which necessitated the rise of the Third-Wave.

TitanAura:
I've seen my fair share of ACTUAL racism living in the Detroit area, and of every flavor too, especially against those of Arabic descent because Arabic = Muslim = Terrorist).

Sometimes I think the only "race" that exists in hollywood's eyes are black people.

That's because racism against black people is the safest. Racism against Arabs is a very volatile issue right now. Especially because you inevitably are going to run into issues of religion.

Native Americans are also a pretty safe topic but that doesn't have as much current 'weight' as the black issue as you have to go back over 100 years. I'd love to see something on current day racist issues outside of the black movement. Say the constant expelling of the Roma (gypsies) out of every European country (including Romania itself where they actually got their name!). How about the current Morrocan and Turkish (did you know there are more Turkish than Germans living in Berlin these days?) people in Europe? Also haven't seen a good examination of current day native American tales (a movie pops up now and then about it but usually skirt around the issue for the most part).

Another major problem with all those is that there's no historical precedent of some great movement or heroic tales to draw from. So someone would need to write such a thing from scratch. And walking into the racism powder keg without being able to point to some real world event is tricky business to say the least.

"that white people can absorb without experiencing any vague sense of historical guilt."

Uh, quick question. Why would anyone feel guilt over stuff like that?
I really don't understand this weird american obsession with trying to atone for how their ancestors treated minority X.
I do not feel guilty for every shitty thing my father has done in his life so why would I ever feel guilt for what everyone who shares the same basic skin tone as me has done?

If you yourself have never treated anyone badly just because of the colour of their skin then you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty for. Same as if some of your ancestors were treated as property but you yourself have never been a slave then you have no right to play the part of the victim.

Seriously folks, shit happened. None of it happened to you. Get over it.

animehermit:
played by a likable actress

Wait. We are meant to like her? But she was in Zombieland... Zombieland was shit (partly because of her) so they kinda screwed the pooch casting her.

I knew that The Help was going to be a white guilt movie the second I saw the first trailers, so I am glad to know I was right there.

Bob, you continue to match my opinions and view points to the point that I'm ready to run the DNA test to make sure we aren't the same person.

I'm sure you don't check these messages but I'll say it again, when do we get more American Bob videos? They have been nothing but awesome. My fiancee and I quote them all the time when talk to others about politics.

In Europa, I haven't seen many Civil-rights drama, but I have the same knee-jerk reaction to the regular dramas about South Africa's Appartheid-era. My response to the announcement of the last one was roughly "Oh FFS, another story of a white author helping the poor blacks? Call me when the movie centers squarely on ANC members, preferably those that joined during the armed-resistance period and have to come to terms with the peacefull resolution Mandela played such a big role in." Hey, I'd go see an overly sappy drama about Mandella before dropping money down the 'look at the whitey being all noble and crap, fighting for the primitive's rights.'-hole

Haven't read the book or seen the movie, so I can't really comment on the subject too well. However, after reading through the article and the associated comments, I have to wonder how a tasteful "white guilt" movie taking place in civil rights era America would be done. The first thing that comes to mind would be a remake of Black Like Me. The context of the book easily allows for a "white" man to take the place of main character without devolving into a "white savior" sort of role while making "black characters the sidekicks of their own stories". Following Movie Bob's summation of Hollywood's take on "black films", a hypothetical remake of Black Like Me would also be able to give a (partial) black point of view while still pandering to white audiences in that a white lead was learning to deal with social and racial injustice too. Admittedly, I'd also like to see the re-discussion of the topic of the "tasteful" use of black face that would inevitably follow the movie's release.

Out of curiosity, for those of you without prior knowledge of "The Help", did you also mistake the movie to be about Mexican immigrants? Just going purely off the title of the movie without researching it whatsoever, what immediately came to my mind was a left-leaning movie following the lives of Mexican immigrants working as unskilled laborers trying to carve a life for themselves and their newly transplanted families while dealing with racial prejudice and the dismissive attitudes of their white, wealthy employers.

Ever notice how such supposedly "racist" films always get beaten down and arguewd against mainly not by the actual minority, but some middle-class leftists white male trying to get some kind of penance?

History happened. Get over it. Stop whining and self-flagellation, and act now, make society more equal now, dont whitewash/blackwash/brownwash/redwash/yellowwash history, or its supposed film representations, to suit your needs.

Are blacks up in arms about this movie, deriding it long blogposts, articles, on the streets, with word of mouth, and most importantly, are they boycotting it? If they are not, then you, Bob, in all your white guilt, ought to shut your trap.

I have no guilt for being white and i dont see any connection between myself and what my ancestors did. Its history, it happened and needs to be gotten over. In a time when black recording artists sell millions of albums, headline multi million pound movies and has become the president of the USA....these types of movies are less relevant. Mainly because the movies are unrealistic, pretensious and make white people look like racist arseholes when having a black maid etc was just the way of life. Kids grew up with it and it was normal for them. I film about racism and they demonise all white people apart from that one enlightened woman, great job.

PrinceOfShapeir:
So Moviebob is a racist because he's tired of the Magical Negro trope? -everyone- is tired of the Magical Negro.

1. For my post, I'm saying condemning Skeeter's intentions for getting these black women to share their stories about their white employers as "blatantly trying to prove she's not a racist" is ironic/hippocritical because Moviebob's article is just as subconciously fueled by his desire to prove he's not a racist as Skeeter's is.

2. Sorry, for me, "racist" is as overly used by everyone as "troll" is, and this makes it just as trite as "troll". Why? Because I'm J-J-J-J-Jimmy!!! (South Park character) In 4th grade, I went to a doctor (because I had these bulges around my joints) and he taught me the word Osteochondromatosis (said bulges are benign cancerous tumors that have to be surgically removed because as I go through puberty they'll become too big knocking my bones out of alignment, or cutting surrounding tissues like muscles, arteries, nerves, etc.). In 7th grade, the doctors operated on one tumor that was under my shoulderblade and another tumor that was near my kneecap in my right leg, simultaneously. This left me having to crutch around school on one crutch like Tiny Tim, and that's when I got my nickname: Tiny Tony. So, my philosophy on racism is similar to Tyion Lannister's advice to John Snow. I AM Tiny Tony, and You are THE [insert racial slur, homophobic slur, misogynistic slur, etc. here].

I haven't seen or read The Help yet, so I can't speak to if I agree with Bob's opinion or not.

But it's a pity his concern for Hollywood's treatment of non-whites didn't get discovered earlier, say about the time he reviewed Avatar.

Or maybe filling a movie all about racial conflict with shallow racial-stereotype characters who get rescued by a white hero whose personal growth (inspired by contact with a magical negro na'avi) is more important than the afore-mentioned racial conflict becomes okay when you have giant robots and freaky alien ponytail sex.

Vortigar:
That's because racism against black people is the safest. Racism against Arabs is a very volatile issue right now. Especially because you inevitably are going to run into issues of religion.

Native Americans are also a pretty safe topic but that doesn't have as much current 'weight' as the black issue as you have to go back over 100 years. I'd love to see something on current day racist issues outside of the black movement. Say the constant expelling of the Roma (gypsies) out of every European country (including Romania itself where they actually got their name!). How about the current Morrocan and Turkish (did you know there are more Turkish than Germans living in Berlin these days?) people in Europe? Also haven't seen a good examination of current day native American tales (a movie pops up now and then about it but usually skirt around the issue for the most part).

Another major problem with all those is that there's no historical precedent of some great movement or heroic tales to draw from. So someone would need to write such a thing from scratch. And walking into the racism powder keg without being able to point to some real world event is tricky business to say the least.

God Bless Robert Rodriguez.

MovieBob:
MovieBob: Helpless

Is The Help really as positive a movie as it makes out? MovieBob isn't so sure.

Read Full Article

Okay, maybe I missed it, but I really what to hear/read your commentary on Tyler Perry's work. I think it would be very funny (no pressure) or at least insightful (There's something that I frankly don't like about his material. It's rehashed, stereotypical, arguably more racist than anything a White director could get away with ect. but since I'm not a movie buff, I have a grave suspicion I don't know all of the underling wrongness. What I'm saying is; it's like the Sims.)

Katatori-kun:
I haven't seen or read The Help yet, so I can't speak to if I agree with Bob's opinion or not.

But it's a pity his concern for Hollywood's treatment of non-whites didn't get discovered earlier, say about the time he reviewed Avatar.

Or maybe filling a movie all about racial conflict with shallow racial-stereotype characters who get rescued by a white hero whose personal growth (inspired by contact with a magical negro na'avi) is more important than the afore-mentioned racial conflict becomes okay when you have giant robots and freaky alien ponytail sex.

Yeah. You see the thing is 1) like Moviebob said in this same article, unlike The Help, Avatar was all about the the Na'vi's fight against the corporate colonialists just presented partly from the view point of a white man and 2) Avatar wasn't about racism.

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