Friday, July 5, 2013

movie review--The Lone Ranger

A Calculated Insult to the US?

Looked at simply as a movie, The Lone Ranger isn't half bad. It's entertaining, humorous, quirky, with lots of action and an interesting perspective as being told as an account by the aged Tonto. So far as that went, I enjoyed it, though it did go a bit long, in my opinion.

But there is more going on here than just another fairly interesting flick, I think. There is something in it that comes off more like propoganda. More to the point, anti-American propoganda, and since it was released the day before Independence Day in the US, I can't help but think that there is something in the nature of a calculated insult in them releasing this movie at that particular time.

If you've seen movies like Dances With Wolves, Pocahontas, and Avatar, you'll soon find that The Lone Ranger is very much along those same lines.

The main message of this movie could be summed up in the phrase "white guilt". If there is something wrong with the world, well, you can blame the white guys. It's a bunch of stuffy white people who bring Christianity to the Indians whom they consider heathen, while the Indians are fine with their animistic beliefs. It's the white guys who think silver is something of value, while the Indians consider it a cursed rock. It's the white guys who kill senselessly, while the Indians never do so. It's the white guys whose greed causes them to build things like railroads, it's the white guys who believe in civilization and progress. When Tonto is facing down the main bad guy at the end of the film, he tells that man that he's simply another white man, as if him being white explained all of the bad things he had done.

Along with that, there is the notion of national guilt. There is the sense that the USA is what is wrong. Two of the three sets of villains represent the US military and US business. The reason for building the railroad is so that the east and the west of the US can be joined together. It's the greedy white US military leader who screams to his troops to mow down the Indians "For God and country!"

In his book "The Everlasting Man", Chesterton deals a bit with those of his own time who tried to paint the people of the western hemisphere as being essentially sinless until Europeans came and defiled their land and their cultures. He rightly points out that, while one cannot deny the reality of Eurorpean sins in their dealings with those peoples, upon what basis are we to assume that those peoples were themselves so perfect before the coming of people from Europe?

It is quite one thing for people to point out the ways the US has mistreated people like the various Indian tribes in the nation's history, that is a reality that should be acknowledged and repented of. But it is quite another to make those peoples seem like they had been so idyllic before people of paler skin came. That seems rather far-fetched, and serves the purpose more of propoganda than of truth and history.

In the end, I simply cannot recommend this movie. The propoganda aspect is simply too off-putting to me.

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