You’ve probably heard about the controversies over Johnny Depp’s portrait of Tonto, in Gore Verbinski’s new film, “The Lone Ranger.” Although portraying a Comanche, the character’s “look” is based on a painting entitled “I am Crow” — and the artist is, yes, a white man (as is the the film’s director [of Polish descent], of course, as well as [to the best that I can figure] the Detroit radio men who first came up with “The Lone Ranger” back in 1932 [first broadcast in 1933]). But beyond that, there’s the general problem of how Hollywood’s depiction of Native Americans continues to reproduce troublesome stereotypes, such as argued in Salon.com‘s recent article on the film: Continue reading “How…?”
Here in the U.S. there’s a new controversy over identity and representation. It involves the picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone.
In case you don’t recognize him, that’s Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a “selfie,” one of the two accused Boston Marathon bombers (the only one who remains alive). In response to the cover, which has been described as glamorizing a terrorist (and which some stores have refused to sell), Sgt. Sean Murphy, who is a photographer working with the Massachusetts State Police, has now released photos that he took when Tsarnaev was apprehended, while hiding in a covered boat in a driveway. Continue reading “A Stark Image/A Stark Truth”
As soon as the topic of religion enters our understanding of current affairs it allows one to begin to judge the degree to which a person is or is not supposedly involved in politics and history, and thereby judge whether they are safe (i.e., like me) or not (i.e., not like me). While it may be obvious on the political right, those on the left employ much the same vocabulary and judgments, but we often don’t seem to see it. Continue reading “How Devoted Are You?”