That was my question for Deacon Greydanus over at Catholic World Report. He wrote a review of the latest Rocky based movie. I've lost track of how many Rocky movies there are. Anyway, I read through the review out of curiosity since I didn't realize the series was still going. Suddenly, I came to a paragraph that really jumped out at me. This was the part that got me:
Rocky was a small-time, working-class palooka whose rags-to-riches story is part grit and part dumb luck. His antagonists include the polished showman Apollo, the Soviet golden boy Drago, and Mr. T’s “Clubber” Lang, who is mainly different from Rocky, alas, in being Black. “Clubber” is also the franchise’s nastiest villain, a fact highlighting an uncomfortable, much-noted racial dynamic running through all six films named for Rocky, every one of which depicts a Black champion humbled, beaten, or killed in the ring by a White challenger
How in the world was Rocky racist just because Rocky is white and wins against two black opponents (because that's what 'uncomfortable, much-noted racial dynamic' means)? How is Drago - a one dimensional cardboard cutout figure if there ever was one - not important win it comes to Rocky's victories? And how is skin color the 'main' difference between Clubber Lang and Rocky? I told him I wondered if he actually watched the third movie.
Now, he did respond to me and was overall fine in terms of behavior. He responded and tried to point out why I was wrong. Why white privilege and systemic racism and racist narratives and sociological frameworks and social sin and cabbages and kings and whatnot. He responded that nobody is saying Stallone was racist or motivated by racism. Which, to me, wouldn't be as bad as what he was suggesting. If he's not saying Stallone was being racist, he's saying the problem is simply that Stallone was white. The part Stallone wrote for himself was filled by a white man, and that's the issue. Which, by my lights, is far worse. After all, it's one thing to falsely say a black man is guilty of something he's not guilty of. It's another to say he's guilty simply because he's black. Or Jewish. Or Muslim. Or Indian. Or any group.
I tried to wrap my head around Deacon Greydanus's responses, and I can't figure out what he's trying to say if not that. It especially gets tough when he leaves that nebulous world of academic abstract thinking and says one possible solution for mitigating the racist narrative of the first Rocky movie would be making Mickey, Rocky's coach and mentor, black by scrubbing Burgess Meredith. That seems pretty concrete, rather than abstract sociological, to me. He's saying the problem with Mickey was the actor's skin color, and the skin colors involved, and a different skin color would solve the problem.
Which, per my upbringing in liberal post-WW2 America, is racist. I don't care how sociological you insist you're being. Saying the problem with someone or something is the skin color - no other accusations intended - is a big 'Where's the swastika?' warning sign. Again, that's from decades of having it pounded into my skull that it is ever and always evil to judge someone by their skin color.
Perhaps I'm missing what he said, but that's the best I could come up with. Whatever it was, he obviously embraces the very racist White Privilege narrative, as well as the assumption of America as foundationally racist, thus anything produced can be fit into the 'America as racist' narrative; that "uncomfortable, much-noted racial dynamic". If I'm wrong about that, I wish someone would explain what he was actually trying to say.
Look at all or most movies and I think you’ll find the most evil and psychotic villains are all white men, from Star Wars to Harry Potter to Halloween to Friday the 13th. This means society is prejudiced against white men, agreed? Depends what lens you look though…ReplyDelete
(Tom New Poster)Delete
I think it's less hatred as fear of backlash from the "woke". There are nonwhite villains in settings where they must be presumed (the Hindu priest in "Temple of Doom"), but in racially-mixed societies there is a trend (beginning in the 1990s) to make all the chief villains white (and usually men). Wasn't true further back (and their were plenty of Asian baddies in "Hawaii 5-0", and black and Hispanic baddies in "Streets of San Francisco" or even "The A-Team").
The brilliance of the modern Left has been to get us to say what liberals proclaimed to be good is now bad, and what liberals said was bad is now good. So all my life it is ever wrong to discriminate based on skin color. Well now, you better be prepared to discriminate based on skin color or you're now the racist. Hence Deacon Greydanus seeing the solution to the Racist Rocky dilemma as replacing actors with the wrong skin color with actors with the right skin color because skin color. You can't make this stuff up.Delete
He's a poseur.ReplyDelete
I wonder what happened to Deacon Greydanus?ReplyDelete
Swung to the Left. It seems to go with the trend.Delete
Hank had wise words on this decades ago.ReplyDelete
* to my MindReplyDelete
So it seems like Steven's problem with Rocky is that the black people in them are treated like characters and human beings instead of objects of worship?ReplyDelete
Seems like Greydanus is less a deacon of Catholicism, and more a deacon of antiracism.
I stopped hate-reading his Twitter feed some time ago, but the fact that he's still caterwauling about Trump and January 6, even after last year's abortion riots and the Summer of Love, should tell you a lot about his ideological commitments. And if DeSantis is the Republican nominee in 2024, we'll have to listen to him try to argue that both candidates are deeply flawed Catholics, as though any of DeSantis' (considerable) flaws come close to matching Biden's enthusiastic support for child sacrifice.Delete
Oh, absolutely. The Left has done yeoman's work convincing moderns to accept that there is not one human race, but various demographic groups whose values alternate based upon the latest circumstances. In this case accept the 1619 Project premise that America has always been a racist slave state existing for the sole purpose of racism and oppression. All whites are racist or inherently guilty of racism. Therefore when you see a movie where skin color, you know it's racist because demographic guilt. As I've said, our schools either failed miserably or succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.Delete
I don't get how a dude who's in his fifties can be this naive. He's essentially skipping along the railroad tracks and ignoring the rapidly approaching (and unmistakable) train whistle. And then there's his willingness to embrace every mainstream narrative imaginable. It's as predictable as it is depressing. He's essentially the David French of the Catholic faith.ReplyDelete
See the last century. How can we suddenly insist that value and guilt are based on skin color? The same reason people a hundred years ago would have believed the same. And the ones who have defined themselves as endlessly condemning the sinners of the past are the ones we're seeing most likely to embrace the sins of those old sinners in the present.Delete
I said that multiple times in 2020. Could someone please tell me how we know Floyd's death had to do with racism apart from the police officer's skin color? But as I've said, the Left has brilliantly resurrected racial discrimination as a virtue. Just make sure it's applied to the correct skin color this time. It sure shows how easy it was in the past, given how easy it has been in our present.ReplyDelete
2016 broke people. Those who tacked leftward in response have absorbed the identitarian shibboleths that the Left includes in its shahada. Repeatedly updated with new DLCs, of course, as both Jesse Singal and JK Rowling have learned to their consternation, among many others.ReplyDelete
It also sent some of my right-leaning friends into loopy realms of insurrectionist fantasies, too. But since we're talking about the Deacon, those aren't germane.
Anyway, there's no fixing the Deacon's views. He thinks you can baptize racial discrimination as Catholic, imagining it as restitutionary justice. That such fuels the vicious animosities that dug mass graves in 1930s Spain is not apparent to him. But that's where we are heading. We will all see it before the end.
I'm not sure how much time and effort is spent researching the values embraced today. He seems to have glommed onto the whole 'racism!' as the password for all righteousness. Like so many who become fixated on one thing, reasoning and discourse will get you nowhere and get you there fast.Delete