Identity Politics and Hollywood dumbing-down things again

Fierce, Black, Female Warriors.
That checks almost all of the boxes for modern Identity Politics. That's why if you oppose the movie The Woman King for any reason then you are a low-life dirtbag.

In fact, the Dora Milaje were modeled after the Agojie warrior women (also known as the Dahomey Amazons), who defended the western African kingdom of Dahomey (modern-day Benin) in the 1800s and were the dominant military force in the society. Now, the Agojie are the subject of a new film, "The Woman King," directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood from a story by actor Maria Bello and screenwriter Dana Stevens.

By 1823, the kingdom of Dahomey was under the thumb of the Western-influenced, richer Oyo empire. It was forced to pay tribute in the form of virgins, guns and captives to be sold into slavery to European colonizers.

"You had this sort of David and Goliath situation where the slightly smaller nation decided to beat back on this," said Cathy Schulman, a producer on the film. "And of course it was the Agojie who led the fight."
...
"She said, 'Can you imagine if one day we actually made a movie about this amazing group of female soldiers who caused such an act of resistance that slavery paused for a time?'" recalled Schulman, who was then an executive at STX Entertainment.

Yeh, can you imagine that? The kingdom of Dahomey existed. The Agojie warrior women existed, and they fought against the white European colonialists. Everything checks out. So what's the problem?

“The Woman King” simplifies Dahomey’s complicated history by transforming it into an anti-slavery kingdom. In doing so, it misses a crucial historical reality by focusing on the story of Dahomey’s female soldiers as African liberators. Dahomey rulers never opposed the Atlantic slave trade. They were deeply engaged in waging wars and selling their enemies into slavery.

Oh, right. These women warriors weren't fighting slavery. They WERE the slavers. Which is the exact opposite of the message of the movie.

In 1727, Dahomey conquered the Kingdom of Hueda, who lived along the coast, and took control of the port city of Ouidah, inaugurating its active participation in the Atlantic slave trade. Historians estimated that nearly one million enslaved Africans were put on ships to the Americas in Ouidah between 1659 and 1863. The port was the second largest supplier of African captives to the trade, behind only Luanda, in today’s Angola.

Ouidah was a major port for selling slaves and the Dahomey controlled that port. This is no small thing.

The Woman King portrays the Agojie as liberators. In the film, the Mahi, a people established north of Abomey and allied with the Kingdom of Oyo, are seeking to capture Dahomey’s subjects, to sell them into slavery. But the reality was quite different. The more powerful Dahomean army was often the one that attacked the Mahi....In the missive, he tells in detail how his army killed the Mahi king and his subjects, including women. Most prisoners who escaped alive from these bloody battles were sold and sent into slavery to the Americas, especially Brazil.

Quite simply, the Dahomey were the bad guys. Or bad women, in this case.
As you might imagine, there's been a backlash against this movie.

Hmm. Some people in the black community are upset over this whitewashing and glorifying of slavers.
The response to the backlash is predictable - they are all racists and misogynists.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that the movie was written by two white women. So that might have something to do with it.

Viola Davis' response is simply "you’re not going to win an argument on Twitter."
Julius Tennon's response is more strident.

We are now what we call “edu-tainment.” It’s history but we have to take license. We have to entertain people. If we just told a history lesson, which we very well could have, that would be a documentary. Unfortunately, people wouldn’t be in the theaters doing the same thing we saw this weekend. We didn’t want to shy away from the truth.

Davis also added "Most of the story is fictionalized. It has to be."

The story "had to be fictionalized" because it was a lie. The movie had "to take license" because the story was a lie.
Here's the thing: You didn't have to lie to the movie viewer. You chose to lie.

If you actually wanted a TRUE story of black Africans rebelling against slavery, fighting and killing the white slavers, and changing the world. You didn't have to invent a story. You didn't have to lie to the audience.
There is a true historical character that Hollywood continues to avoid - Toussaint Louverture. And if someone made a movie about him, I'd pay to go see it.

Or maybe you wanted to make a movie about women warriors that were so totally badass that it's hard to believe that they actually existed. But they did.
The Nazis nicknamed them The Night Witches.
I'd pay to go see a movie about them too.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

...meanwhile, on FascBook: https://reclaimthenet.org/br-feeding-facebook-ban/

Apparently, this is just a worse version of something that happened in the 1990s; I'd really like to know how it was defeated back then.

Another question, for more immediate personal use: Is this just Twatster? How "real" is any of this if I just choose to not watch propaganda movies and stay off a bricks-stupid website that should never have existed to begin with (I once heard it compared to a telegram service without intended recipients)?

The excuses the writers are making remind me of Aaron Sorkin's Screenwriting MasterClass I took: It left me with dramatically less respect for the once-formidable Aaron Sorkin, because he actually said "you have to choose how you're going to lie." Granted, he was referring to something far less significant - when he wrote The Social Network, he made Mark Zuckerberg make himself a "screwdriver" in a scene where Zuck said he'd actually been having a beer, but Sorkin reasoned "the point was he was trying to get drunk, but in college, you drink beer to quench your thirst" - yeah, THANKS for your generous, broad-minded assumptions about college students, Aaron.

Does nobody call the Misinformation Police on them? I think boycotting's a mostly-obsolete strategy (especially now that there's also such a thing as a "buycott", and heaven only knows how often the Black Budget's been utilized to turn failures into successes), but maybe they could fight their way to making people put an embarrassing disclaimer in front of movies that are egregiously "disinfotainment" - heck, put it retroactively on classics like 1951's The Desert Fox; if it makes ACTUAL right-wingers squirm, then that helps.

One good thing (THE one good thing) about the '000s in hindsight, it was a gloriously politically-incorrect era, and that did FAR more to heal the past (on a psychosocial level, the relapse was allowed to happen because a feudal economy and a hideous police-state to support it were being built) than this snake-oil ever would!

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

link

“Fan-baiting” is a form of marketing used by producers, film studios, and actors, with the intent of exciting artificial controversy, garnering publicity, and explaining away the negative reviews of a new and often highly anticipated production.
...
Studios seized the opportunity to discredit criticism of poor writing & acting, insinuating that these, too, were motivated by bigotry. What used to be accepted as standard critiques were increasingly dismissed as part of the ignorant commentary of a “toxic fandom.” 5/10
Soon, it became standard practice before release to issue announcements specifying diverse casting choices, coupled with pre-emptive declarations of solidarity with the cast whom they now counted on to receive disparaging and harassing comments.

Actors who are women and/or BIPOC became props & shields for craven corporate laziness and opportunism. The studios save money both by avoiding expensive veteran writers as well as by offloading publicity to news outlets and social media covering the artificial controversy.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@gjohnsit I'd feel a lot less frightened by this if I knew there were at least some "reputable" (i.e. rich, famous, and non-marginalized) people calling it out for what it is.

This "fan-baiting" ought to be considered a form of hate-speech; it does explain a LOT.

It reminds me of the abusive acting "teacher" I went to for a while who shot a seedy reality-TV show; she'd probably have thought this was all just good fun.

I would really like to know what can be done.

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6 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

TheOtherMaven's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

Amazon's Billion Dollar Prize Show, Lord of the Rings; the Rings of Power, is surviving entirely on fan-baiting. (I've been following the controversies, but not the show itself.)

To the extent that there is a favorable consensus (there isn't much of one), it's a passable generic fantasy with gorgeous CGI and lousy writing. It isn't Tolkien, and the shillbots have been claiming that it never could be because the Tolkien Estate would not sell the rights to the Silmarillion. Which, however, is neither here nor there because the Silmarilion is almost entirely about the First Age of Middle-Earth and the story they want to tell is set in the middle/late Second Age (about which the Silmarillion says very little).

So anyway, in the name of "Diversity" and "Wokeness", the show inserts one black Elf (no explanation for him) and one black Dwarf (no explanation for her), race-mixes a bunch of proto-Hobbits (the Irish Times slammed them HARD for relying on racist stereotypes of Irish tinkers - ironic, isn't it?), adds a fictional daughter for Elendil who wants to be a builder (and a fictional son for Pharazon who falls for said daughter, apparently so they can rip off Shakespeare as well as Tolkien - Romeo and Juliet, anyone?), race-lifts and promotes Tar-Miriel to the biracial (no explanation of course) "Queen Regent" of Numenor (which is a bogus title - she would be either Princess Regent or Queen outright, depending on whether or not she had taken/been given the sceptre), and radically revamps Galadriel into Xenadriel Warrior Princess (without a trace of Xena's lighter side), who is the Only One Who Knows What's Really Going On But Is Ignored And Dismissed By All The Stupid Men Around Her. (To add insult to injury, they're ship-teasing a possible relationship with a scumbucket apparently-human male character who hints and leaks say may turn out to be Sauron in disguise!!!)

None of this makes me any more interested in watching the show, even if it weren't available only through Amazon Prime. Which according to the shillbots and fan-baiters means I'm a racist sexist xenophobic you-name-it. :-P'''''

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7 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

snoopydawg's picture

@TheOtherMaven

I’ve been reading the series for 3 decades and was excited when the series came out, but in the 1st episode I knew they had trashed it with this woke crap. Too many characters were placed to fit the woke agenda and one of the main characters had his history changed that derailed the whole timeline for the series. Then the women who could channel the source because femazazis and I stopped there. It’s a good thing that Jordan is dead and can’t see how his work was massacred and I can’t believe his family signed off on the script. Or maybe once they sold the rights they didn’t have any say. Still, big bummer.

Same thing happened with Goodkind's sword of truth series. Unwatchable!

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5 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@TheOtherMaven Makes them go back to just SELLING books, because clearly they have no sincere interest in writing them.

Also, plea for mercy: I didn't need to hear about that. I asked for something encouraging, I don't need more "it gets worse". Just...if you'd at least be willing to hold back when choosing to reply to me, I'd be appreciative.

In the meantime, though, one sour turn deserves another (and at least this can be used to prove what it's all about): At the same time as one fragment of GloboCorp is resurrecting bigoted thought and claiming it's the opposite, another branch - worse, a formerly-legitimate purveyor of fine arts and political commentary, at least Amazon has no legacy to betray - has not regressed to its "1950s McCarthyist establishment suckup" period, but reached a new low: https://scoopempire.com/israeli-superhero-working-for-mossad-to-star-in-...

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2 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

TheOtherMaven's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

User reviews for the show are tanking badly, to such an extent that both Amazon and IMDB resorted to deleting most/all 1 star reviews - and got caught doing it, and had to revert the scores due to public disapproval of their shenanigans.

Discussions online revolve extensively around what is wrong with the show (plenty!!!), at least on three Reddit subs not owned/monitored by Amazon (I unsubbed from the one that is).

Some people continue to watch because they think any fantasy on TV at all is worth their time, some because they like the gorgeous CGI and don't care about anything else, some because they like this or that character and don't care about anything else, some because they want to see just how bad it's going to get (and/or whether/when Amazon will pull the plug). But more and more people have been posting that they have stopped watching due to lack of interest.

Personally I suspect that the show will continue just as long as Bezos is willing to pump money into it, which makes it a "vanity project". Whether he's willing to burn money at the current rate for the full five years is a good question - even though he has it to burn and more besides.

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4 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@TheOtherMaven That was a helpful thing to say.

I've always aspired to a career in the arts - I hate politics, but it's a duty, and I've never, EVER been able to fathom the notion of being "apolitical", or how people were ever able to believe it could be avoided - and prospects, while ALWAYS an uphill battle, but one I was willing too fight for, have never seemed grimmer than in the past several years.

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0 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

To paraphrase Jodie Foster: Human is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.

earthling1's picture

Do we no longer use the term "actress"?

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Cassiodorus's picture

just as television is generally bad. The general flaw in movies is that a camera can't always, or even often, bring you to an imaginative experience in the same way that reading a book will provoke the imagination.

Oh, sure, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule that movies are generally bad. But most of the good exceptions are old movies. So, for instance, you have 2001: A Space Odyssey, or MASH, or The Producers, or Animal House, or, I don't know, anything with Sean Connery or Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor or Marilyn Monroe or anything by Stanley Kubrick or Monty Python or Alfred Hitchcock or Mel Brooks or maybe even Martin Scorsese or Oliver Stone. A lot of old movies work because they invite you to adopt a beginner's mind toward their topics without appearing to do so strenuously.

But the new movies? They might convince you to do something else rather than watch them. New movies often appear to be about the money it took to produce them. Or new movies are derivative, because the directors have run out of ideas. How many versions of "Batman" do you want to see?

This is not to say that good movies can't still be made. But don't expect it.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead