Ya, they remade 'The Lone Ranger' and it's super progressive...

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Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture
Ya, they remade 'The Lone Ranger' and it's super progressive...

A really excellent critque of The Lone Ranger movie by Jesse Wente for CBC's Metro Morning: "A Step Backward" Good interview -- only about 7 mins long too.

Wente touches on Depp's Rolling Stone interview and his past relations with Aborignal Peoples, and specifically notes the Depp wanted to remake this moving as a jumping off point for Hollywood to incorporate Indigenous People and represent them in a non-racist view.

Wente makes the remark of : "good intentions don't always equal a step forward"

What is almost laughable is Depp's want/need to "give Native Americans more spotlight" but then playing a role for an indigenous person himself. And, playing that role the same stereotyped and historically inaccurate way! 

Hmmm...

 

Issues Pages: 
lagatta

Why the hell didn't Depp engage one of the many fine First Nations actors whose talent has been developed and showcased in many films?

I can think of several who are also suitable hearthrob material for Hollywood blockbusters, not only (sigh) Adam Beach.

Interestingly, many Amerindians from peoples within what is now the US have been played by Canadian First Nations actors, starting with Jay Silverheels in the bad old days.

I almost had a bird when they transferred the Windigo legend thousands of km south to Texas! The peoples of what is now the southwestern US and northern Mexico have their own cultures and legends...

Here's some more from Wente on this issue: http://www.reelinjunthemovie.com/site/blog/guest-blog-jesse-wente/

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

ooh thanks for the link lagatta!

Flavorwire just published a critque of this film as well with the title "with or without Johnny Depp as Tonto, the 'Lone Ranger' was too racist to reboot"

Haven't read the article, but the headline about sums it up -- is Hollywood that out of ideas or out of touch with reality that Lone Ranger needed to be remade and the people in it actually thought it would do good? Really.

"Let's cobble together a bunch of different FN lore to be presented by a character in red face because that is a super refreshing take on the representation of first nations people." *execs and Depp pat self on back.

I like the Wente discusses why this film needs to be critqued though, important.

6079_Smith_W

Perhaps he should have stuck to English poets.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG_IwB9dfXw

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yes, I think the only reboot that is possible would be one which foregrounds the racism of the original series in order to tell a story about colonialism in America, kind of like Thomas King did with Will Rogers.

lagatta

Did you see the Jezebel article linked to in the Flavorwire one? This is even more offensive (the quote is from a Rolling Stone interview).

"I wanted to maybe give some hope to kids on the reservations. They're living without running water and seeing problems with drugs and booze. But I wanted to be able to show these kids, "Fuck that! You're still warriors, man."

http://jezebel.com/johnny-depp-wants-to-fix-racism-with-tonto-514398140

There is one minor error: I wouldn't really call Depp a "white dude" - he is obviously multi-racial, but what the "other" component is remains far from clear, and gives him a sort of Johnny-of-all-trades "exoticism", which is only a plus for his career.

More important, what a concentrate of crippling clichés in three very short sentences. And as if there are no problems with "drugs and booze" in Hollywood!

Bacchus

Apparently he has a fair amount of Cherokee in his background (like a quarter) and was made a member of the comanche's as well (tho that in of itself doesnt make you one(as Ward Churchill found out)

lagatta

Despite living in an age of horrific racism and stereotyping, the TV image of Jay Silverheels as Tonto looks far less offensive than Depp's get-up. He actually looks like a normal human being, although his clothing looks more like garments from his own Iroquois nation than an outfit suitable for the heat of the US Southwest: http://www.lonerangerfanclub.com/jaysilverheels.html No silly 'Kiss" facepaint, or pet crow shitting on his head.

As far as I know, facepaint (among many peoples) was either "warpaint" to intimidate enemies in battle, or something ceremonial. Wearing something like that everyday would have been a slow poison.

6079_Smith_W

@ Bacchus

Not that it matters for any of us mongrels, but I don't think Churchill ever managed to come up with a shred of real evidence.

And after reading some of the things Depp has said about it, including offhand musings about rape (anyone wanting the source can track it down via his wikipedia listing) I don't see how his unsubstantiated claims allow him any license either.

 

 

Bacchus

Oh good Lord, I read the wikipedia entry thanks Winston

 

That will teach me to rely on surface reading from news media ick ick

6079_Smith_W

It was a revelation for me too.

And here I thought him playing that role was going to be the most creepy thing about this story. I had no idea he was doubling down on it.

 

 

Bacchus

If your going to go creepy, go big I guess

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

In a 2002 interview, Depp stated that he believed he has Native American ancestry;[8] in 2011, he specified, "I guess I have some Native American [in me] somewhere down the line. My great-grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek."[9] He has also stated that he "apparently" has Native American ancestry, and that "There are so many different things you're told [growing up] in Kentucky" [about his heritage].[10] His Native ancestry came under question when Indian Country Today Media Network stated that Depp has never inquired about his heritage nor does theCherokee Nation recognize him as a member.[11] (See heading "Controversy" below).

Ya, just terrible.

Way to blaze a trail there Johnny.

onlinediscountanvils

Native Appropriations: [url=http://nativeappropriations.com/2013/07/i-saw-the-lone-ranger-so-you-don... saw The Lone Ranger so you don’t have to[/url]

lagatta

On a related topic, the usual marginalization and kitschy representation of Indigenous peoples, on National Aboriginal Day in Montréal:

http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/canada/382118/de-quelques-procedes-jou...

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

Native Appropriations: [url=http://nativeappropriations.com/2013/07/i-saw-the-lone-ranger-so-you-don... saw The Lone Ranger so you don’t have to[/url]

Great link ODA. She is such a great writer. 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Another link (via Jezebel after reading Lagatta's suggestion) Johnny Depp’s Tonto is Based on a White Man’s Painting of an Imaginary Native American (and older read)

Then Depp revealed to Entertainment Weekly the inspiration behind the character's new look: a painting by an artist named Kirby Sattler, called I Am Crow

If you're wondering how accurate a depiction of a Crow man this painting is intended to be, the answer is: Not Very.

On his website, Sattler states "I am not a historian, nor an ethnologist," and notes that he hopes his paintings "satisfy my audience's sensibilities of the subject without the constraints of having to adhere to historical accuracy."

again. job well done Johnny.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Unfortunately he may have gone too far this time and pissed off the people who usually lap up that Disney stuff

(and the only ones who were likely to go see it in the first place)

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/05/christians-upset-over-depps-tonto-...

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

omg. is that story for real? WHAT!

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

On the Native Appropriations site that ODA originally posted on, the writer has reposted this blog Why Tonto Matters, which is a good discussion of why this whole movie needs to be discussed and not just chalked up to "well, what did you expect" (not that anyone here is doing that)

How can we expect mainstream support for sovereignty, self-determination, Nation Building, tribally-controlled education, health care, and jobs when the 90% of Americans only view Native people as one-dimensional stereotypes, situated in the historic past, or even worse, situated in their imaginations? I argue that we can’t–and that, to me, is why Tonto matters.

 

onlinediscountanvils

At least it's looking like Disney will lose a lot of money over this (although not necessarily because audiences are turned-off by its racism).

[url=http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ff6cc34a-e7c8-11e2-9aad-00144feabdc0.html... faces writedown as ‘Lone Ranger’ flops[/url]

Quote:
Walt Disney looks set for a writedown of at least $100m after the dismal opening weekend performance of The Lone Ranger, its big-budget summer movie.

The film had a production budget of $250m, with Disney also spending more than $100m on marketing. But despite the presence of Johnny Depp, one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, it failed to catch the attention of US audiences, earning only $48.9m over the long July 4 weekend.

Analysts at Cowen and Company predict a minimum writedown of $100m by Disney

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

wow. that is surprising, but I guess ultimately good news?

I thought, given the backlash of people against those critiquing the film, the movie had a large following ... guess not.

APTN also did some tv coverage on the issue too: Lone Ranger is back and so are the Indigenous stereotypes

onlinediscountanvils

Kaitlin McNabb wrote:
I thought, given the backlash of people against those critiquing the film, the movie had a large following ... guess not.

It's one thing to express one's fervent support from behind a keyboard. It's quite another to throw away one's own money (not to mention 2.5 hours of one's life) on garbage.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Gotta love internet trolls sometimes -- vicious on the computer; apathetic in real life!

And yes! Of all the things that blow my mind, it is that the film is 2.5 hours long (that was hyperbolic).

I'm curious what reasons were more behind the film being a flop: (1) disgust at the representations of indigenous people, (2) no interest in the original lone ranger (3) film just looked boring?

Mórríghain

Kaitlin McNabb wrote:
I'm curious what reasons were more behind the film being a flop: (1) disgust at the representations of indigenous people, (2) no interest in the original lone ranger (3) film just looked boring?

I will not pay money to see this movie because a) I've absolutley no interest in the original lone ranger and b) the film looks boring ... really boring. Pirates of the Old West starring Johnny Depp and...

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

I figure most babblers can wade through the bull that is the Lone Ranger, and agree with you in all your points Morrighain. I don't want to see this movie, will not even for "educational purposes" (re: to inform my bashing of the movie. SIDE NOTE: I used this theory of educational watching to inform my argument for Twilight, and it was the worst decision of my life. It added nothing except learning I can fluctuate between extreme rage and extreme boredom.)

I was wondering more for those internet troll people who defended the terrible things within the film, and then, assumingly didn't go and see it because it made no money. 

I'm assuming laziness if the culprit here.

I don't actually want to talk to those people though. They are the worst.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Owner of Wounded Knee Eager to Sell to Johnny Depp

Deep in thisDaily Mailfeatureon Johnny Depp, the actor who portrayed Tonto in Disney’s Lone Ranger re-boot expresses a desire to buy the site of Wounded Knee and return it to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

“It’s very sacred ground and many atrocities were committed against the Sioux there. And in the 1970s there was a stand-off between the Feds and the people who should own that land,” Depp told theDaily Mail. “This historical land is so important to the Sioux culture and all I want to do is buy it and give it back. Why doesn’t the government do that?”

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

My first reaction to this story was the same as the comments by other readers. How the hell did this white guy get a piece of treaty land that is surrounded on all sides by treaty land?

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

The whole story is incredibly bizarre.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

This isn't about the lone ranger per se but about native appropriation, which is more or less the theme of this thread.

I just finished reading this horrible interview, and I can't believe the member of A Tribe Called Red actually stayed through the whole thing while the interviewer basically trolled him to see when it is appropriate to wear a headdress as a non-native person, or try to catch him in a loophole of his own opinion.

So you're saying, if first nations individuals or leaders were to show up in headdresses, even if they are plastic feathered ones, it would be couth, but being that it's young, white, EDM fans, that doesn't wash.

Yes. Exactly. But it has yet to happen. I have yet to speak to someone who is First Nation who wears fake headdresses and war paint to EDM concerts. It's "redface." Just like "blackface".

onlinediscountanvils

It was hard to tell if the interviewer was asking those questions out of genuine curiosity, or whether he just wanted to give them a chance to swat down all the ridiculous arguments that inevitably come up when discussing FN appropriation with defensive settlers. I'm assuming it was the latter, if only because ATCR never lost their shit on the guy.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

really, interesting viewpoint.

The interview is going a bit viral and getting a lot of heat for the way in which the interviewer is berating ATCR with questions, but also the fantastic answers given.

Should have put a disclaimer to not read the comments, but that seems par for the course now.

onlinediscountanvils

I don't know if I'm correct, or not. But it's something that crossed my mind after getting over my initial reaction of 'WTF!?'. Then I saw that a friend who had posted it on FB had a similar theory. But if the interviewer is taking some heat over it, maybe I'm wrong, and he really did think those questions had merit.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

My friend also posted that to her facebook, and someone who knows the author said "he is a very intelligent, nice guy, so I'm assuming he's taking one for the team here."

I think it is a nice thought and potentially good strategy to ask all the questions some rascist peeps might ask, but he should of either had that disclaimer or made it more obvious (especially to Ian Campeau). He comes off as just a dude saying "educate me!!!"

 

abnormal

I don't want to start another thread but it appears that the "real" Lone Ranger was an African American man named Bass Reeves

http://politicalblindspot.com/the-real-lone-ranger-was-an-african-american-lawman-who-lived-with-native-american-indians/