postMonday, 13 August 2007

Transformers: Racism, Sexism and Americana

It just wouldn’t be a Hollywood if you didn’t throw in those three ingredients. I was a massive Transformers fan when I was a kid, thus I was obviously excited when the film came out. Overall it was a little more for the younger crowd but I enjoyed it. But there are three things I feel compelled to point out.

Racism:


As if trying to justify itself to the horror genre the film decides to take on two of the most notorious Hollywood stereotypes. The only black Autobot, Jazz, black in that he is voiced by a black actor and his dialog is stereotypical of the comedic black character, is killed in the film. He is in fact the only Autobot to be sacrificed to the forces of evil.

Debatably one could argue that he was a Christ-like sacrifice, since there is a fair range of arguments that Jesus was in fact black. However, I highly doubt this since 85% of the red states get enraged when they hear this theory and alienating 85% of half your audience just isn’t good Hollywood business sense. I guess it just boils down to good old-fashioned family racism.

Misogyny:

Keeping the horror movie spirit going the film also has another important lesson: “Smack your bitch up!” In the climatic scene our hero (Shia LaBeouf) running for his life trips and bumps into a woman’s car. The woman reacts with some harsh words, obviously pissed about her car and not noticing the giant robots in pursuit of our guy.

This woman is set up as a stereotypical self obsessed bitch and as every piece of white trash knows if a woman’s a bitch you’d better beat the attitude out of her. The poor lady whose only crime was worrying about her car is eaten alive by the very car she stands up for. Hectic.

Americana:

Nothing like a good dose of Americana, but really what were you expecting? It’s a movie about giant robots that turn into cars (well mostly). If you’re going to complain about that, I’m going to have to complain about your inability to predict a film’s overall vibe from a trailer (you must waste a fortune on movies you don’t want to see).

Yes the film’s filled with fast cars, jocks, hot chicks and explosions. My favorite ingredient: The ode to football. What’s more American then football? After all the rest of the world does calls it “American” football.

The Setup: Our hero, the social outcast who’s been labeled as a nerd but really isn’t (another Americana cliché), tries out for the football team and is humiliated (and quite literally crushed).

The Play: In the climax of the film our boy runs down a street holding an “object” like a football. In pursuit of him is the entire Decepticon defense. Fortunately for Shia he is flanked by Autobot blockers who provide him the cover he needs to make it all the way to the “end zone”. Hollywood magic at it’s best. At least Optimus Prime didn’t transform into an American flag at the end.

26 comments:

Irrelevant Industries said...

Your forgot the "Good Ol' American Faggotry" category. Shia was in the movie.

Anonymous said...

If you see racism in a movie that doesn't contain it, it's probably not the movie that's racist.

In short: you're a moron.

Rob Scott said...

Hey Gimp Boy,

You must be right, I am a racist otherwise I wouldn't have given that poor autobot all those stereotypical black qualities and then had him killed. Oh, right that wasn't me that was the movie. Well done pancreas you are officially completely useless.

John said...

Hi Rob,

95% of people think your an idiot. But don't worry, 5% of people are idiots just like you, so you will have company on the shortbus.

Rob Scott said...

Hi John

In 100 words or less provide a valid argument as to why I am an idiot. Careful not to stutter.

dave said...

A Rob, you're a faggot and you know it. So why don't you keep all this bullshit about Transformers to yourself? Leave the people who thought this movie was enjoyable to themselves, and stop spreading the hate. Why? Because you my friend are a low life moron.

reader of lame said...

horrible analysis. Just terrible. Go read a book. This movie was made to appeal and entertain society.

Rob Scott said...

OK Dave so let me get this straight:
1) You’re a homophobic.
2) You don’t believe in the right of free speech.
3) You like to contradict yourself.

I guess you can bring up how much you hate me at your next clan meeting then.

Quincy said...

Rob,

I think you are on point. I actually enjoyed the movie, but found the death of Jazz blatantly racist. Not in a clanny "white power" kind of way, but more as a bi-product of inbred American racism. As far as your detractors on this comment list, forget them, they are probably just products of red state public schools.

Valentin said...

Anonimus, john, dave, reader of lame .. average Joe, John Doe .. all looks to me as lamer uneducated teenagers, so great speakers when they can "promote" them crap hidding behind "no name" facility.

In fact, that kinda behaviour is characteristic to people who`ll "evoluate" from "Oh, God, I had sayd it to him so big that now he cry" to "Man, I regret I kill that old defensless woman, but shit, I was in need for cash to buy some weed .."

Wel, the good part of all is you have stil time to choose 1 out of 2 :
- lethal injection
- electric chair.

See ya in hell, guys. I`m the boss there ...

Ventura said...

The only black autobot, Jazz?

Maybe it's just me, but how was Ironhide not black?

Considering Jazz's transformation into a silver vehicle, and Ironhide into a black one, I'd say if anything Ironhide is the black one of the group.

But that doesn't work for you, does it? Because of course, Ironhide survived.

I'm not even going to go into why the skin colour of the actor voicing a machine has any bearing whatsoever.

This blog makes having a right to voice your opinion look like a bad thing. Seriously. Think before you type.

Anonymous said...

are you all reallya s ignorant as you are portraying yourselves? think of this from our perspective. as bl[ack guy, i get the standard condesention from everyone in general, the always having to fight for ourselves, the having not too many good role models. Now transformers comes out. ok cool. very nice, theres a black autobot, ok... he gets fucking ripped in half. yet another "good" black person literally torn out of existance. yeah, you substandard pale dumbasses, we were a little vexed.

as for the moron who said iron hide was black...
yes: he has black paint.
no: he was played by a white actor, was always looking for something to shoot, guns out, trigger happy. if you attribute those qualities to black people, go and visit your local trailer park.

Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

NO seriously,

its racist and sexist and capitalist like a mofo. I'm an African American, yet amazingly I have a firm command of the English language and no difficulties whatsoever with enunciation. What makes this so amazing is that in the movie, all the black guys come off like ads for an upper level Ebonics class. I didn't mind the Jazz thing so much, but the stereotypical portrayal of black diction and culture pissed me off immensely. All I want is one movie where a black guy sits in a corner sipping earl grey tea and translating Carmina Burana from Latin to English - Is THAT so much to ask for?

For the sexism, the two main female characters were ripped directly off of Cosmo covers, which in conjunction with the aforementioned racism reminds me of Sunday Night Football. The black guys evidently have the thinnest veneer of intellect and the women are objectified as sex objects (albeit highly pulchritudinous sex objects). These two issues could have been done a lot of justice by adding Morgan Freeman and a non-top-10-model actress to the lineup.

But the Capital (deliberate pun dipshits) offense was the shameless whoring of my childhood to the corporate board of GM. They must have saw this movie coming years ago when Spider Man hit it big and creamed their pants at the thought of a 2.5 hour long Chevy/GM ad that not only inundated todays crop but reached back a generation to rape the parents of said crop - A TwofeR! The Matrix pulled the same bullshit, and it was just as transparent. They could have used concept cars thought up in an afternoon, with their box office success it is clear they didnt need $ from GM. Nor were they so hard up that it was neccesary to hawk ipods, nokias, ebay, xboxes etc.

Not since 'The Marine' has a movie been so unabashedly pro-military and Jingoistic. It really looks and sounds like one of those inspirational recruitment films (pointless chatter, stock fighter jet imagery, heroic deeds sans injuries or fatalities). Hey man, whatever it takes to sway public opinion. Shit the conciliatory tone of the film when Bumblebees getting tortured makes Camp X-Ray seem alright so long as moral rectitude appears on-scene before it shuts down.

BUT - I did enjoy the movie generally. I give it a 7 out of 10. I dont want a PC world, that would make me want to hurl on a fairly consistent basis. But a bit of tact from the production end could go a long way. Feel free to send all hate mail to knightsofthetemple@gmail.com...


Keep America Rolling!

Rob Scott said...

Great Comment Mr. Anonymous. It's amazing how heated this Transformers thing has become. As your comment proves it's obvious that there is a lot of propaganda in the film yet so many people get pissed when it is pointed out.

Transam2009 said...

Bottom line that movie was racist specially agienst latinos and black people,they where alot of hidden racist messages in the movie.Why is the hispanic guy always ridiculed and anything spanish made fun of?

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Note to self: never piss off a Transformers fan...(all the heated commentary is evidence of this) ha ha ha! Unfortunately, I haven't seen the film so I'll join the lively debate once i do!

Anonymous said...

hey kid are you retarded ?

Alfe said...

GUYS!!! for grief sake its humour! he is kidding, he is making a funny joke, which ever you understand best. take off your white coats and have a little chuckle together. Ventura you are a very special kind of stupid... How can you honestly take what rob says to heart? huh? Go wipe that red off your face, go on. go on now.

Anonymous said...

First thing Jazz says when he is introduced in the film is:
"What's crackin' lil' bitches"
then does a break dance and sits down.

Love the way some of u guys are pissed at rob for apparently 'seeing racism where there is none'. Of course its racist! Not only is it massively obvious he plays a black autobot but he is the only one to die. Don't get me wrong its a fucking great film but can say it aint racist.

Anonymous said...

cant*

blue moon said...

bitter much? I'm pretty sure you're not even a minority and just some middle of the road white dude trying to be proactive about racism... Good Job!

Viggly Johnson said...

Yous guys can all suck my big, black balls. Oh fuck! I'm racist, I said black.

Awesome, I love being racist...

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone noticed that only the black characters used profanity.

Anonymous said...

wow talk about reaching to find racism. they should've given jazz some fried chicken and had him do a jig while picking cotton. then you could have at least had a reason to bitch and moan.

Christopher said...

word of advice: anyone who can't spell "you're" correctly really has no grounds to call anyone else an idiot.

secondarily -- you can't ever point out racism to people who will go out of their way NOT to see it.

deep in the recesses of their minds -- even if they won't admit it -- they probably feel that all (us) black people actually walk, talk, and act that way (with or without the gold tooth) so its not actually "racist" to create such a blatant stereotype since that's how (we) black people behave.

of course, we black people also don't read or write very well, so its actually impossible that i'm reading this blog, much less respsonding to it without using ebonics and broken english.

Spokker said...

"of course, we black people also don't read or write very well, so its actually impossible that i'm reading this blog, much less respsonding to it without using ebonics and broken english."

Well, you don't capitalize the first letter of each sentence. You spelled "responding" wrong too. Of course, that doesn't reflect poorly on blacks, just you. And I'm only pointing that out since you pointed out another poster's spelling mistakes.

I think the most equitable situation is one where all ethnic types, races and cultures are worthy of ridicule and negative portrayal. There have been plenty of negative portrayals of white people as dumb redneck hicks. Mainstream animation on Fox has portrayed a "Mexican funeral" as one where a single casket fits ten people.

There have also been plenty of positive portrayals of black characters by well-respected and highly-praised black actors.

Since a lot of people feel the need to disclose their ethnicity I will disclose mine, or what I think is mine. I am half-white and half-Hispanic, whatever that means. I have no idea where either side of my family comes from specifically. I have no interest in knowing and besides, a lot of the people who would know are dead anyway.

And the movie sucked.

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