Culture Unchained Essay

Submitted By Jordan2224
Words: 1722
Pages: 7

Pop Culture Unchained

“Yet, one wonders if the difference between a bad pirate and a good squire is itself not preeminently a matter of having the right amount of disposable income.” Michael Parenti says this as he dives into the topic of how Hollywood and the film industry have glamorized the upper class, while in effect demonizing the classes below the top. Parenti uses the pirate and the squire in reference to Treasure Island. He explains how Long John would be stealing the treasure, because he did not invest a large amount of money into finding it, while the squire would simply be discovering it because of how much money he had poured into the search. Parenti goes on to speak of how in many films, it is the responsibility of the rich, usually white, man to reach down and help those who are poor, and usually a minority or a woman. He argues that this type of class bigotry is harmful to our society. Another article by Annalee Newitz discusses how Hollywood has continuously produced movies that involve a white man helping a minority or joining their group and becoming their leader, while never giving up white privilege. Movies like The Last Samurai show how white man can join a closed off ethnic group and eventually become the hero of the society. I believe that Parenti and Newitz are right, in most cases, but I have found a popular movie that does some of what they say is bad, and some of the opposite. The 2012 movie Django Unchained, by Quentin Tarantino, utilizes this stereotype of the wealthy, white man rescuing the poor black man, but it also does much to demonize that lifestyle of wealth and privilege. Django Unchained stars Jaime Foxx as Django, a slave from Mississippi about 2 years before the civil war started. Christopher Waltz plays King Schultz; a charming German dentist turned equally charming bounty hunter. The two meet when Waltz stops the slave caravan in Texas that Django is in. Waltz is in possession of a dead-or-alive bounty for three brothers, who were overseers on the plantation Django was from. Waltz brutally kills the slave drivers, giving the slaves their freedom, and then requests that Django help him in his quest to find the three outlaws. After they find and kill the brothers, Waltz learns that Django had a wife, who had been sold separately from him. Her name is Broom Hilda, and Waltz recounts a German tale of a woman named Broom Hilda, guarded by a dragon on a mountain top, and of the hero who comes to save her. Waltz feels responsible to make sure Django successfully finds his wife, so the two set out together pretending to be a rich man and his black adviser, who are interested in an atrocious sport called Mandingo fighting (slave fighting to the death). Leonardo DiCaprio plays the wealthy and eccentric plantation own Calvin Candie, who owns “Candie Land”, one of the biggest plantations in all of glorious Mississippi. It was Calvin who bought Broom Hilda, so Schultz and Django smooth talk their way into Candie Land under the pretense that they are interested in buying a top notch Mandingo. The movie culminates with an explosive battle and drama between the two factions, as the scheme to get Broom Hilda back is uncovered. Schultz, disgusted by the violent, racist arrogance of Candie, declines to shake Candie's hand to officially complete the purchase and freeing of Django' wife, instead shooting him right in his cold heart. Unfortunately, Schultz is killed also, but Django has a few more cards up his sleeve and ends up blowing Candie Land to Kingdom Come, then escaping with Broom Hilda. In Michael Parenti’s eyes, this story would be a classic example of exactly what he preaches against. After all, the rich man did lend a hand down to a poor, enslaved man to help him out of the trenches, right? Yes, this is true. It is part of why this movie fits with what Hollywood has done wrong to make the audience always cheer for the rich guy. The film has Walt’s character speak in an…