I remember sitting in a movie theater years and years ago watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and being wildly amused by all the racial stereotyping being used as “character development”. Clearly Lucas thought he could get away with it because they were aliens, people…but you can’t really get away with it when it’s so freaking obvious. Just ask Michael Bay about his ridiculous ice cream truck Transformers.
It started with the Trade Federation representatives who were clearly Asian. I mean, they looked like fish, but they didn’t look like Admiral Ackbar…instead, they were oddly reminiscent of catfish or coy. And then they spoke with a bad Asian accent.
Then there were the Jamaicans…I mean, whatever the fuck Jar Jar was.
And then there was the hook nosed blue flying trader/slave owning alien Jew. Obviously.
I admit fully that I laughed a lot about this, as I generally do when anyone says anything or does anything anti-Semitic these days. It’s generally how I feel when anyone says anything against Russians or Communists. I find it absurd that anyone still has anything to say about Jews or Communists. It seems out of place in the world today, so I can’t help but assume that people are saying these things ironically/sarcastically as an homage to shit-tacular times past. So when the Blue Jew appeared on screen and bartered for Ani’s freedom I said, “Holy crap…they made the shady business monster Jewish…FOR REAL? AMAZING.”
Obviously, racism and other -isms never go away. People are raised with idiocy and it prevails through generations. So, of course there is still rampant antisemitism. And even when it’s not necessarily antisemitism, the stereotypes prevail.
Take Mitt Romney. Please.
Anyway, take Mitt Romney. He goes to Palestine and pisses off all the Palestinians (like only a great Presidential hopeful should do) by saying,
“And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the “hand of providence.”
The Palestinians were outraged because these were thinly shrouded racist remarks about them. I would agree with that assessment, but what struck me so much about this story was how Mitt got up in front of a bunch of Jews and said, “You’re successful because you’re good with money” and that they were God’s chosen people or something.
I admit that laughed out loud at this whole thing. I got this image of Mitt preparing for his trip and choosing to read “How to be a Jewish Mother” as his primary source of research. I will always find this hilarious because I can’t believe that these stereotypes are still relevant.
Several years ago the owners of a company I was working for were Jewish. It was a father and son duo and I suppose I would characterize the father as someone who would have fit right in with my Jewish relatives. I will point out that Wes’ Uncle Bob also would have fit right in and he was quite Catholic. I think the stereotype is more generational rather than religiously cultural. Anyway, this guy I worked with came into my office and said the following to my office mate, “Did you hear what the Jew did?” Neither of us knew he was talking about. “Who?” my office mate asked. “The Jew…” We both looked puzzled. Then he clarified that he was talking about our president and I looked at him, cracked up for a second and then said, “The Jew? Really? What is this, 1945? You’re kidding, right? Are you about to make a penny pincher joke? Because that would be classic.” He left without another word. I still find this funnier than I find it offensive because it just seemed so archaic!
Anyway, back to Romney. After he insulted Palestine by saying that they were culturally inferior to Jews, he then went on to say something about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, which is true according to Isrealis, but not according to the rest of the world…especially not to the Palestinians. No matter what you think about this particular conflict, it should be obvious that a dude trying to become President of the United States should probably know things about international affairs.
I think this is going to be a hysterical election…during the times in between when it’s terrifying I guess. Romney is a jackass, but I haven’t repressed the memory of Bush yet.