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Monday, June 12, 2006

EW's 25 Most Controversial Movies Ever

EW has released a list of what it deems to be the 25 Most Controversial Movies Ever. It was interesting to note that of the 25, only 2 seem to deal with racial tension or the controversy focussed primarily on racist depictions. Despite Hollywood's love affair with racism and minstresly, isn't it interesting that EW picked movies that sparked controversy primarily because of sex, violence, or because it pissed off the (Judeo-Christian) Religious Right? Even Birth of a Nation, which was a KKK propaganda piece from start to finish, only ranked a mere 7. These films aren't the most shocking or disgusting, these are just the films that were the most shocking or disgusting to people powerful enough to start a controversy.

6 Comments:

Blogger Marty said...

I agree about the list. I'm not sure it captured the really 'controversial' films.

Maybe the mainstream controversial ones.

6/12/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Controversial to them = anything to do with Christianity, drugs, or sex. On the other hand, that's probably what most white Americans do think is controversial. Race is probably like number 30 on their list of priorities.

Oh, Jenn, I found this webpage which is quite interesting... (actually all the articles on that page are interesting, but this one had to do with footbinding.) it claims that footbinding was promoted in the Yuan dynasty, to prevent Han Chinese resistance. I should note that I don't think this means that Chinese men were not misogynist, but it does present an alternate viewpoint. What's especially interesting is how white people's worldview of Chinese warp their interpretation of Chinese films and novels.

Here:
http://www.colorq.org/Articles/article.aspx?d=2005&x=imaginedsubtext

6/12/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Hi Jay, it's an interesting article that you posted...

I took slight issue with the second paragraph in which the author says:

"women's education had never been taboo, even 2000 years back. Middle-class families with limited financial resources might give priority to educating their sons over educating their daughters, but the daughters of rich families had always been educated. Many women from the lower echelons of society were illiterate but so were their brothers. "

I think this is a sweeping under the rug of the sexism of Chinese society -- while the daughters of the elite were educated, there was still some taboo associated with educated women because of the fact that women of the lower classes were viewed as being primarily useful for birthing more children or caring for their elderly parents. Anecdotally, in my mother's family, my mother was discouraged from pursuing an education in favour of her brothers because of lack of resources, such that my mother cultivated her own literacy. My grandmother came from a wealthy family so she was well educated, but it was more of a "idle rich" mentality allowing the wealthy women to become educated rather than an active encouragement by society.

However, I do agree with the author's argument that there is no need to characterize sexism in Eastern societies as "better" or "worse" than one another or Western societies. As with racism, this kind of hierarchy of oppression serves no useful purpose and is virtually impossible (by what criteria would we measure "better" and "worse"?).

As far as the Yuan dynasty and the Han rebellion -- I tried to do some further research, but I needed to go offline to find the original source... while it's an interesting theory, I worry that such a finding could be used to discount sexism within Ancient China by those who believe that any charge of sexism is anti-Chinese or, specifically, anti-Chinese male, when ultimately, even if this theory is true, there is still a level of sexism involved in the original practice as well as WHY it was ABLE to catch on.

6/12/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous gatamala said...

Birth of a Nation and The Mask of Fu Manchu are two of the most vile films ever made. I think "those who deem what is controversial" don't want to deal with the fact that these two movies (and others) were NOT controversial, but well-received and in the case of BoN, shown at the White House and seen as an accurate portrayal of the "American" struggle. Shit BoN and GWTW are considered some of the "greatest movies ever made."

I watched The Mask of Fu Manchu on either AMC or TCM when they were having a tribute to Myrna Loy. I watched this mess at 2:00 AM and sat there slack-jawed. I suggest that you put it in your Netflix queue. Once you see it, you'll realize why these white decision-makers want to act like it doesn't exist. The very directors, producers and actors they venerate and worship to the heavens created and pushed this racist propaganda!!!!

The Mask of Fu Manchu is worth seeing just to see how hateful and paranoid white people could be. The premise of the movie is Fu Manchu resecurrecting Ghengis Khan to enslave the white race!!! Now, I realize Manchurians may have some of Genghis' blood, but I have the sneaking suspicion that a Chinese man would not resurrect a Mongol!!

Fu has pointy ears, slanted eyebrows and a prosthetic face. His daughter invented the dragon lady. Myrna Loy has the taped-back eyes and is about to sexually devour this white guy.

His lackeys have those round spectacles and are going around all hunched over with their hands in their sleeves.

Fu has 2 dark-skinned black slaves - in loincloths!!! How the fuck they made it to "China" I'll never know.

There is the scene where the white woman is tied up on a stick and passed hand over hand on a sea of teeming savages - who seem kinda dark for "China"!

When Fu addresses his crowd of yellow people and urges them to take over the white race (those are his words exactly) I swear on my life his crowd includes a few Turks, Egyptians, and maybe a Mexican or two. So basically, we've gone from yellow to anybody not white!!! I guess the director said fuck the whole yellow peril theme and just decided to warn the audience about colored people in general.

6/13/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous rtother said...

A lot of people take religion very seriously (and I don't mean just white Americans either), so I'm not too surprised at the inclusion of those pics, e.g. Last Temptation of Christ.

Mainly mainstream stuff of course, but it's Entertainment Weekly here, not Zmag or something like that.

6/13/2006 10:52:00 PM  
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